A Torah Thought for Parshat Pinchas
By Moshe Feiglin
“Pinchas the son of Elazar the son of Aharon the Kohen has turned My wrath away from the children of Israel, in that he was very zealous for My sake among them, so that I consumed not the children of Israel in My jealousy. And so I say, behold I give him my covenant of peace.” (From this week’s Torah portion in Israel, Pinchas, Exodus 25:11-12)
Surprisingly, Pinchas’ zealotry and his uncompromising battle to preserve Israel’s separatism and national identity advance peace. Sometimes, it may seem that a blurred identity and essence will foster peace. The entire “peace process” and the “New Middle East” strategy are based on trashing the concept of borders and identities (Shimon Peres, The New Middle East, page 72 in the Hebrew edition). But the Torah teaches us that just the opposite is true. Only he who knows his own identity is capable of living at peace with himself and his neighbors.
To highlight this point, this week’s Torah portion ends with a section on the Sukkot sacrifices, in which all the nations of the world take part. When the Nation of Israel is settled securely in its Land, holy city and Holy Temple and makes G-d King of His world, we enjoy true peace. The world is waiting for us to be ourselves, and to fulfill our destiny. Then we and the entire world will merit a genuine, lasting peace.