When folks among us do wrong, there has to be a reaction. G-d has two aspects that run our world, an aspect of Din-judgement and an aspect of Rachamin-mercy. Evil acts bring a force of harsh judgment into the world. It is programmed that way, a law of spiritual physics. Evil needs judgment; but there are two ways this harsh judgment can be meted out. One of us folks can stand up for right and morality and thereby stop the evil. Or, G-d forbid, if no one stands up against evil, G-d allows destruction to come to the world eventually.
This week’s Parsha starts with G-d telling Moshe “Pinchas the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon the Kohain, turned my anger away from the Jews” by fighting My fight and therefore, he merits for himself and his descendants to be Kohanim.
Woa – weird. Isn’t he a descendant of Aharon? Why then wasn’t he a Kohain already? Next question – aren’t the Kohanim the ones who bless us with peace, why should such a combatant, warrior who killed the evildoers, be inducted into the corps of peace harbingers?
There are physical genetics and there are spiritual ones, too. The hard work you do on your spiritual self will make your children’s souls more spiritual, too. In fact, we are told that if we find a Jew who is without a sense of shame, who is not compassionate and who is not a kind person we can question his lineage as to whether he is really a Jew because those are spiritually our genetic makeup due to Avraham’s hard work. So when Aharon got picked by G-d to be a Kohain, any descendants born thereafter were born with the Priestly genetic makeup (which at this point in time has been proven by science that they share a gene). However, any of his grandchildren born before that would not have that genetic makeup and would not be a Kohain. Pinchas was in that category making him a non-Kohain. Yet, now through his own spiritual actions he merited to be a Kohain.
Peace is a sense of harmonious alignment of mankind to G-d’s purpose – that is what brings peace to us and to the world. So while Pinchas acted with what seemed to be blood-thirsty vengeance, it was out of love for the Jewish people, compassion to spare the entire nation from suffering for the sins of few, and righting injustice so that there would be peace in the nation – and that is why he was “knighted” by G-d to be a Kohain.
May our generation merit to have warriors for morality and justice so that peace can come to our suffering, pained masses.