Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kill For Peace Parsha Pinchas Binni

Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane- Parshat Pinchas

The true definition of "peace" has been so badly distorted in this generation that the word itself has come to represent a particular political point of view. So much so that even when the Right speaks of peace, it does so within the confines of the Left's view and twisted definition of the word.

Though it is not an easy task, it behooves us to uncover the Torah's understanding of peace. By doing so, we will be able to map out basic policy guidelines for a Jewish peace that, with G-d's help, will eventually be used by the government in the Land of Israel.

The first place to look to discover the Torah's understanding of peace is Pinchas. Why Pinchas? Because he is the man whom G-d Himself chose to give the covenant of peace. (Such a covenant was not even given to his grandfather, Aaron, who was famous as a "lover and pursuer of peace.") The question that begs asking is: Why? Why of all things was Pinchas given the covenant of peace? Would it not have been more appropriate to give him the covenant of zealousness? Wasn't Pinchas's recourse to violence the very opposite of what peace represent?

It is these very questions, however, which illustrate the confusion inherent in every contemporary discussion of peace. After all, what has peace come to mean today? It means shaking hands with evil -- and the more evil, the grander the peace, for "only with enemies do you make peace." You proclaim, "Peace," get photographed on the White House lawn, and hope that your enemy stops killing you. In other words, peace means that one comes to terms, or makes peace with, evil. Obviously, for any thinking person, this definition does not go down smoothly. After all, normal instincts tell us that no good can come of giving into evil and making peace with it. Nonetheless, many people get dragged along this distorted interpretation because they know no alternative.

What, then, is true peace? According to the Torah, peace is a RESULT -- a consequence of making the world a better place. And the first step in bettering the world is uprooting evil and evildoers from it. "Sur me'ra" -- turn from, or remove, evil. Making peace with evil or -- even worse -- giving into it is the very OPPOSITE of what one should do if one wants to achieve true peace.

Peace is NOT the mixing of good and evil, as we have been trained to think. The very opposite. There can be NO coexistence between good and evil, nor can there be a partnership between good people and evil people. The Master of the Universe expects the righteous to expunge evil from the world. "And you shall burn (vi'arta) the evil from thy midst," the Torah commands us in numerous places. ONLY THEN will peace reign in the world.

Indeed, the Rabbis compare killing the wicked to offering sacrifices on the altar, which is a symbol of peace -- "to teach you that when the blood of the wicked is spilled it is as if a sacrifice was offered" (Tanchuma, Pinchas 1). For there are two sides to peace -- removing evil and doing good, sur me'ra va'asei tov. One cannot exist without the other.

That is why Pinchas received the covenant of peace. For when all the Jewish people's leaders, including Moses and Aaron, cried in paralysis as Zimri sinned with Kozbi (see Numbers 25:6), the younger Pinchas took action and eradicated the evil before him. True, his grandfather, Aaron, was a symbol of the love and pursuit of peace, but evidently he was weak in the area of uprooting evil. And since there is no peace without the purging of evil, it was his grandson, Pinchas -- who understood both sides of the equation -- who received the covenant of peace.
Darka shel Torah, 1995
Shabbat Shalom

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