Numbers 25
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1  While Yisrael was staying at Shittim, the people profaned themselves by whoring with the Moabite women,

א  וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּשִּׁטִּים וַיָּחֶל הָעָם לִזְנוֹת אֶל־בְּנוֹת מוֹאָב׃

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

ב  וַתִּקְרֶאןָ לָעָם לְזִבְחֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶן וַיֹּאכַל הָעָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶן׃

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

ג  וַיִּצָּמֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבַעַל פְּעוֹר וַיִּחַר־אַף יְהוָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

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

ד  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה קַח אֶת־כָּל־רָאשֵׁי הָעָם וְהוֹקַע אוֹתָם לַיהוָה נֶגֶד הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וְיָשֹׁב חֲרוֹן אַף־יְהוָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל׃

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

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

6  Just 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.

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

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

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

8  he 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.

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

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

ט  וַיִּהְיוּ הַמֵּתִים בַּמַּגֵּפָה אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים אָלֶף׃

10  Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying,

י  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

11  “Pinchas, 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.

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

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

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

יב  לָכֵן 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.2 comments

13  It 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.’”

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

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

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

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

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

16  Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying,

טז  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

17  “Assail the Midianites and defeat them

יז  צָרוֹר אֶת־הַמִּדְיָנִים וְהִכִּיתֶם אוֹתָם׃

18  for 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.”

 

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

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Numbers 25

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