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Pinchas: In Pursuit of Peace

At the end of last week’s Parsha, the Midyanim sent women from their kingdom to seduce the Jewish men and cause them to sin in order that the Jews should lose favor in God’s eyes and be less successful in battle on their way to Eretz Yisrael. Unfortunately, Zimri, the Nasi of Shevet Shimon, publically sinned by bringing Kazbi, a Midianite woman, into his tent in front of many onlookers (Bamidbar 25:6). Pinchas, the son of Elazar, grandson of Aharon HaKohen, kills Kazbi and Zimri, and at the beginning of this week’s Parsha, aptly named in his honor, God himself testifies to Pinchas’s greatness by saying that Pinchas avenged God’s name and is blessed with a “covenant of peace” (25:6). Rashi notes that this was God’s way of putting His stamp of approval on Pinchas’s actions. Rav Chaim Shmulevitz in his Sefer Sichos Mussar notes that the Pasuk repeatedly refers to Pinchas as “ben Elazar ben Aharon,” despite having already disclosed his lineage and connection to Aharon in the last Parsha. It is unusual for the Torah to refer to a person’s lineage every time they are mentioned, and even more unusual for the Torah to mention the person’s grandfather more than once. R’ Chaim notes that this is because we must understand the enormity of what Pinc