TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
PROPHETS
KETUVIM
WRITINGS

Numbers 25

1While Yisrael was staying at Shittim, the people profaned themselves by whoring with the Moabite women,

אוַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּשִּׁטִּים וַיָּחֶל הָעָם לִזְנוֹת אֶל־בְּנוֹת מוֹאָב׃

2who invited the people to the sacrifices for their god. The people partook of them and worshiped that god.

בוַתִּקְרֶאןָ לָעָם לְזִבְחֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶן וַיֹּאכַל הָעָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶן׃

3Thus Yisrael attached itself to Baal-peor, and Hashem was incensed with Yisrael.

גוַיִּצָּמֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבַעַל פְּעוֹר וַיִּחַר־אַף יְהֹוָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

4Hashem said to Moshe, “Take all the ringleaders and have them publicly impaled before Hashem, so that Hashem's wrath may turn away from Yisrael.”

דוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה קַח אֶת־כָּל־רָאשֵׁי הָעָם וְהוֹקַע אוֹתָם לַיהֹוָה נֶגֶד הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וְיָשֹׁב חֲרוֹן אַף־יְהֹוָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל׃

5So Moshe said to Yisrael's officials, “Each of you slay those of his men who attached themselves to Baal-peor.”

הוַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־שֹׁפְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הִרְגוּ אִישׁ אֲנָשָׁיו הַנִּצְמָדִים לְבַעַל פְּעוֹר׃

6Just then one of the Israelites came and brought a Midianite woman over to his companions, in the sight of Moshe and of the whole Israelite community who were weeping at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

ווְהִנֵּה אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּא וַיַּקְרֵב אֶל־אֶחָיו אֶת־הַמִּדְיָנִית לְעֵינֵי מֹשֶׁה וּלְעֵינֵי כָּל־עֲדַת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהֵמָּה בֹכִים פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד׃

7When Pinchas, son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen, saw this, he left the assembly and, taking a spear in his hand,

זוַיַּרְא פִּינְחָס בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן וַיָּקָם מִתּוֹךְ הָעֵדָה וַיִּקַּח רֹמַח בְּיָדוֹ׃

8he followed the Israelite into the Hamber and stabbed both of them, the Israelite and the woman, through the belly. Then the plague against the Israelites was checked.

חוַיָּבֹא אַחַר אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־הַקֻּבָּה וַיִּדְקֹר אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶם אֵת אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־הָאִשָּׁה אֶל־קֳבָתָהּ וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה מֵעַל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

9Those who died of the plague numbered twenty-four thousand.

טוַיִּהְיוּ הַמֵּתִים בַּמַּגֵּפָה אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים אָלֶף׃

10Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying,

יוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

11Pinchas, son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites by displaying among them his passion for Me, so that I did not wipe out B'nei Yisrael in My passion.

יאפִּינְחָס בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן הֵשִׁיב אֶת־חֲמָתִי מֵעַל בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּקַנְאוֹ אֶת־קִנְאָתִי בְּתוֹכָם וְלֹא־כִלִּיתִי אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּקִנְאָתִי׃

12Say, therefore, ‘I grant him My pact of friendship.

la-KHAYN e-MOR hin-NEE no-TAYN LO et b'-ree-TEE sha-LOM

יבלָכֵן אֱמֹר הִנְנִי נֹתֵן לוֹ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי שָׁלוֹם׃

 25:12 I grant him My pact of friendship

The zealot, Pinchas, sees immoral behavior among the camp of Israel, and immediately responds with an iron fist and a sharp spear. Ironically, Pinchas is rewarded for his violent action with Hashem’s “pact of friendship,” known in Hebrew as brit shalom (ברית שלום), literally ‘covenant of peace.’ With this striking detail, the Torah illustrates a vital lesson. Genuine peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Pinchas did not negotiate with the perpetrators and attempt to achieve a compromise solution. By standing up for his principles, Pinchas demonstrated that only when based on eternal principles of truth and justice can true peace be achieved. A person who internalizes this idea and acts accordingly is a true “friend” of God.

13It shall be for him and his descendants after him a pact of priesthood for all time, because he took impassioned action for his God, thus making expiation for the Israelites.'”

יגוְהָיְתָה לּוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ אַחֲרָיו בְּרִית כְּהֻנַּת עוֹלָם תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר קִנֵּא לֵאלֹהָיו וַיְכַפֵּר עַל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

14The name of the Israelite who was killed, the one who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, chieftain of a Simeonite ancestral house.

ידוְשֵׁם אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמֻּכֶּה אֲשֶׁר הֻכָּה אֶת־הַמִּדְיָנִית זִמְרִי בֶּן־סָלוּא נְשִׂיא בֵית־אָב לַשִּׁמְעֹנִי׃

15The name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi daughter of Zur; he was the tribal head of an ancestral house in Midian.

טווְשֵׁם הָאִשָּׁה הַמֻּכָּה הַמִּדְיָנִית כָּזְבִּי בַת־צוּר רֹאשׁ אֻמּוֹת בֵּית־אָב בְּמִדְיָן הוּא׃

16Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying,

טזוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

17“Assail the Midianites and defeat them

יזצָרוֹר אֶת־הַמִּדְיָנִים וְהִכִּיתֶם אוֹתָם׃

18for they assailed you by the trickery they practiced against you—because of the affair of Peor and because of the affair of their kinswoman Cozbi, daughter of the Midianite chieftain, who was killed at the time of the plague on account of Peor.”

יחכִּי צֹרְרִים הֵם לָכֶם בְּנִכְלֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר־נִכְּלוּ לָכֶם עַל־דְּבַר־פְּעוֹר וְעַל־דְּבַר כָּזְבִּי בַת־נְשִׂיא מִדְיָן אֲחֹתָם הַמֻּכָּה בְיוֹם־הַמַּגֵּפָה עַל־דְּבַר־פְּעוֹר׃