Parshat Pinchas 5780: Reflecting on Pinchas and His Kehunah

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Pinchas is sponsored by Rabbi Joel and Shelly Padowitz and dedicated for a full and complete Refuah Shleima for Joel’s Grandfather, Yissachar ben Hindl. To the Padowitz family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Pinchas 5780: Reflecting on Pinchas and His Kehunah

by Moshe Burt

There are those friends who speak kiddingly about this author’s Kehunah. After all, the family name “Burt” seems an uncommon surname, more in common with “Ernie.” But this author goes on to testify as to the validity of his Kehunah — “My father was a Kohen, my grandfather was a Kohen, his father was a Kohen.”

This author’s grandfather spoke of his childhood, family lineage and his Kehunah to a cousin which was recorded on an old-time cassette tape before his passing. This author’s grandfather even spoke that there was the tradition that if a Kohen married, but no children resulted from the marriage after a number of years, that a Kohen could divorce his wife and later marry someone who could bare him children. Such was the case of this author’s great-grandfather who remarried and was borne five children, three daughters and two sons, the youngest being this author’s grandfather.

This all serves as a segue into our Parshat Pinchas and reflecting on Pinchas and His Kehunah.

Years ago, when this author’s son Pinchas Ariel was Bar Mitzvah’d in Parshat Ki Tisa, this author spoke connecting the aforementioned Parsha with our Parshat Pinchas; that Pinchas ben [the son of] Elazar ben Aaron HaKohen, the only offspring born to a son of Aaron during the Egyptian enslavement, was not anointed or “grandfathered in” as a Kohen with Aaron and his sons, but only later had the Kehunah, and eternal life, Divinely conveyed upon him in the merit of his action in slaying Zimri and Kosbi, as they co-habited, in the run-up to B’nei Yisrael’s entry into Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, in his sefer “Unlocking The Torah Text,” Sefer Bamidbar (pages 261-262) raises a question regarding Pinchas’ Kehunah and poses several approaches to this question, including one which bolsters the Midrashic p’shat cited above:

….We are immediately confronted with the technical questions surrounding Pinchas’ status as a priest before and after the fateful events of Ba’al Pe’or [culminating in the slaying Zimri and Kosbi, as they co-habited].

If Pinchas is already a Kohen by dint of his identity as Aaron’s grandson, why must he now be blessed with “a covenant of eternal priesthood?”

Two basic approaches are suggested by the commentaries, both based on early Midrashic dictum “Pinchas was not appointed as Kohen until he killed Zimri [and Kosbi]… (Rabbi Goldin citing Yalkut Shimoni, Shemini 247:531)

Rashi maintains that Pinchas, although a descendant of Aaron, is not a Kohen at all until these events unfold. The Kehunah, this scholar explains, is granted to those descendants of Aaron who were born after Aaron and his sons are themselves inaugurated into the priesthood. Because Pinchas was born before the moment of Aaron’s ascension, he can only enter the priesthood in an exceptional fashion, as a result of Hashem’s blessing in wake of his heroic act. (Rabbi Goldin citing Rashi on Sefer Bamidbar, perek 25, posuk 13) A slight alternative to this approach is suggested by a group of scholars who maintain that while Aaron and his sons were originally inaugurated into the Kehunah, his grandsons were not. Pinchas is, therefore not a Kohen until Hashem confers such status upon him following the events at Ba’al Pe’or.(Rabbi Goldin citing Da’at Zekeinim Miba’alei Hatosafot on Sefer Bamidbar, perek 25, posuk 13)

Both the Ibn Ezra and the Ramban, on the other hand, interpret the “covenant of priesthood” as referring specifically to the High Priesthood [Kohen Godol]. Although Pinchas is a Kohen from the outset, his heroism catapults him to a new, higher status, Hashem now commands Moshe to publicly proclaim that the chain of High Priesthood will, in the future, emerge directly from Pinchas. ((Rabbi Goldin citing Ibn Ezra on Sefer Bamidbar, perek 25, posuk 13, Ramban, ibid)

Thus, in whatever way we understand, Hashem conveyed the Kehunah, and eternal life upon Pinchas in vindication regarding the vicious, false accusations against him and in recognition of the justness and Kiddush Hashem of his action. We can only hope that Hashem rewards those few and brave voices who speak out about Our Divine Right to Har Habayit and to all of Our Land — Eretz Yisrael. May those voices become our governmental leaders!

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free, as Naama Issachar is now free and home — which can only occur when Jonathan is home in Israel and carrying for his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of five and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.