Saturday, July 14, 2012

Posting on Pinchas

I was considering this morning the question of why Pinchas was specifically awarded entry into the kahuna (priesthood) for his action in killing Zimri and Cozbi. One thought that occurred to me was that while Hashem approved of his actions, there was concern that zealotry would become a habit. So he was placed in a position where that desire could be either sublimated or restrained. If he was to become fond of blood and violence, as a Cohen he would be slaughtering animals for the Mishkan (Tabernacle). If he wanted to inspire other people with his zealotry, as Cohen for war his responsibility was to speak to the army and assure them Hashem was with them. Also, as a Cohen he was forbidden contact with the dead. This might have been for his protection (against flashbacks, or other PTSD issues) or alternatively it might have been to serve as an additional reason for him to refrain from murder in the future. (I know that sounds ridiculous, to be willing to murder someone and refrain because it would make you ritually impure, but that strikes me as the sort of detail that has undue weight in the eyes of a fanatic.)