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Parashat Pinkhas (English)

By Rav David Lhungdim

The Lord spoke to Moshe, saying: Pinkhas the son of Eleazar the son of Aharon the Kohen has turned My anger away from the children of Israel by his zealously avenging Me among them so that I did not destroy the children of Israel because of My zeal (Num 25:10-11).

Since the tribes were disparaging him, saying, “Have you seen the son of Puti, whose mother’s father Yithro fattened (פִּטֵּם) calves for idols, and who killed a chieftain of an Israelite tribe? For this reason, Scripture traces his pedigree to Aharon (Rashi).

Rashi's commentary is difficult to understand because we find in the Gemara Sotah about the pedigree of Pinchas’s mother that she was also from Yosef as well as from Yithro (Sotah 43a).

The Baal HaTurim wrote that sometimes the alphabet Vav is missing in Eliyahu’s name and sometime Yaakov’s name is written with Vav, to teach us that Yaakov Avinu took the Vav from Eliyahu until the final days of redemption.

The Ben Ish Khai wrote that the Sages said of Pinchas (Sanhedrin 82b) that they would despise him and say that you have seen the son of Puti, the one whose father fattened calves for idol worship, killed the president of a tribe from Israel without a trial. Therefore, the scripture came and wrote his pedigree towards his father Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aaron the priest.

In Bava Metzia (114b) it is written that Pinkhas was Eliyahu, and about his pedigree, we found there is a difference among our sages. Once the sages were discussing the pedigree of Eliyahu, some say he is from Gad and some say he is from Binyamin; Eliyahu appeared to them and said I am from the son of Rakhel. (Midrash Shekhel Tov VayetzeCh 30, Yalkut Shimoni Bekhukotai Remez 675’ Tosfot Rid Bava Metzia 114b).

According to Abarbanel (Parashat Pinkhas), he was the son of Aharon from his father, and from his mother, he is from the son of Yosef, but we find in Meshech Khokmah (Bamidbar 12) that his pedigree is from Yithro through his mother side sister of Tziporah, wife of Moshe.

The Shelah Hakadosh also wrote Pinkhas is from Yosef through his mother side, and these are the words of Shelah, we found in the deeds of Zimri “the people fall to harlotry” (Bamidbar 25:1) meaning they sinned with their Brit Milah, thus the rectification is needed from Pinkhas who is from the seeds of the daughter of Putiel who is known as Yosef. (Shelah Hakadosh Parashat Vayashev, Miketzs, Vayigash Torah Ohr 36).

In the book Ateret Paz we found many Tzadikim meet with Eliyahu, and question, if then why did not the sages ask to clarify the unsolved problems such as “Teko” which are found in Gemara? The Rav said there is a great revelation of Eliyahu. Even though the sages have the revelation, it is not the great revelation, thus, the unsolved problem such as “teko” stills remains until we will witness the great revelation in the future, as it is written: “I will send Eliyahu Hanavi before the Great Day (Malakhi 3:23) {Shut Ateret Paz Khelek 1 Krakh 3 Even Haezer Miluim Siman 9 pg 228}.

In the book, "Ohalei Yakovin" (Parashat Pinkhas) wrote: There is a revelation of Eliyahu through the body. But it has various revelations, sometimes he reveals with this trait and other times with another trait (Midbar Kadmot by Khida), for Eliyahu does not reveal with all the traits, only with the coming of the Mashiakh his revelation will be with all the traits and the souls of Eliyahu don with the traits of Pinkhas which is Zeal for G-d.

With all the teaching of the Sages above, it seems to me that, all the saying of the Sages are with the same intention of guarding the Brit because the covenant of the Holy Brit distinguishes the people of Israel from the nations of the world for the ways of nations of the world are harlotry and they hate G-d. And this is the opposite of guarding the Brit Milah, and therefore, Pinkhas, who was from the seed of Joseph and Yithro from his mother's side according to the sages in Sotah (43a) guarded the covenant of Brit and thus safeguard himself from harlotry and Idol worship, and made Kiddush Hashem with the traits of Yosef and Yithro, which is distancing from harlotry and idol worship. Thus he brings peace between G-d and the people of Israel and we know that peace is the trait of Aharon about whom it is said to love peace and pursue peace (Avoth 1:12).

Because of that sins (harlotry and idol worship), 24 thousand of Israel died in the plague, and therefore, regarding Eliyahu, we found that he brought the people of Israel closer to their father in heaven on Mount Carmel, and all the people abandon idolatry, and they said, "Hashem Hu ha Elokim" and moreover, he is zealots for G-d regarding the mitzvah circumcision.

And as it is written by Biur HaGra that the people of Israel observe circumcision until they were divided into two kingdoms and when the kingdoms of Ephraim discards the mitzvah of circumcision (brit milah) Eliyahu stand up with great zeal for G-d and swear that the heaven should stop giving dew and rains upon the earth. When Izevel heard, she command them to kill Eliyahu and he fled. G-d reveals to him and said why did you come here and he said, I am zealots for G-d sake, and G-d said you have the traits of zeal, you are zealot in Shittim about harlotry, and now you are zealot for the mitzvah of circumcision, therefore, Israel will not perform Brit milah without you. From here the sages institute to place a chair for Eliyahu Angel of the Brit. (Biur HaGra Yoreh Deah Siman 265:43).

Therefore, if we contemplate carefully we will find that everyone related to Pinkhas such as Aharon-Yosef-Eliyahu-Yithro has the traits of Zeal which are related to the rectification of the Brit, and the redemption of Israel depended on two things which are related to Pinkhas, such as safeguarding the Brit which is related to rectification of harlotry the trait of Yosef, and rectification of Idolatry the trait of Yithro, this brings peace between G-d and Israel the trait of Aharon. Therefore, our sages said the final redemption depends on the rectification of Brit, as the rectification of every trait depends on the rectification of Brit (Igeret DeKala Noakh, Sfat Emet Parasha Devarim). The Beer Maim Khaim explain in length the greatness of safeguarding the brit (see Beer Maim Khaim Parasha Lekh Lekha), Sfat Emet Shemoth on Purim wrote every prayer and Mitzvoth depends on Brith Mila, and through this, the written Torah and the Oral Torah are connected, as it is written “write this song and teach Benei Israel to place it in their mouth” the last letter ofבני ישראל שימה בפיהם is Mila (circumcision) and the Baal Ha Turim also wrote "והייתם לי סגלה מכל העמים ס"ת מילה (you will be a special nation unto me), the last letter is Milah (circumcision).

Therefore it seems to me that this is the reason that we invite Eliyahu who donned the trait of Pinkhas which is the trait of Zeal for G-d in every Brit milah, because, through Brit Mila which is the root of all Torah, Mitzvot and prayer Eliyahu will intercede for nation of Israel in order to bring the final redemption.

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