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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

The Missing Peace

והיתה לו ולזרעו אחריו ברית כהונת עולם

And it shall be for him and his children after him, an everlasting covenant of the Kehuna

As a result of Pinchas’ valiant act of Kiddush Hashem, he was rewarded by becoming a Kohein. As the gemara in Zevachim tells us, “Pinchas was not anointed until he killed Zimri”.

The mefarshim explain that although Pinchas was a descendant of Aharon, nevertheless he was not a Kohein by right. The Kahuna was only given to Aharon, his four sons, and their subsequent children. Pinchas, who was already born, an existing son of Elazar, was excluded from the initial appointment.

The question is, why was this so? Why was the original sanctification ‘limited’ in this way? Why wasn’t all the descendants included?

Rav Schwab zt”l raises another good point: the Priestly blessing before the duchan, is אשר קדשנו בקדושתו של אהרן – the Kohanim declare that Hashem has infused them with the sanctity of Aharon. But what if this particular Kohein is in fact a descendant of Pinchas, in which case his sanctity is not the sanctity of Aharon, rather a sanctity that was generated by Pinchas?

Rav Schwab explains beautifully.

Aharon excelled in the attribute of peace. Aharon was famous for bringing people together, settling disputes, and spreading harmony. אוהב שלום ורודף שלום Aharon was someone who loved peace, and pursued peace.

But we know, that while Moshe was up on the mountain receiving the Torah, the people panicked and asked Aharon to build them a golden calf. Aharon tried to stall them, by agreeing to their plan, and did not outwardly protest against it.

This might lead someone to wonder if perhaps Aharon’s trait of being a ‘peacemaker’ was somehow flawed, or imperfect. This perception of lack was reflected and symbolized in his sanctity being ‘limited’ it only spread to his immediate children.

However, when Pinchas, Aharon’s grandson, was able to stand up for what was right, and even slay a prince to uphold the honor of Hashem, this ‘restored’ the flaw and demonstrated that peace and strength are indeed compatible with one another. One can be a peacekeeper, while at the same time standing up for what is right.

This ‘rectification’ filled the gaps in Aharon’s attribute, and provided the missing piece allowing the sanctity of the Kahuna to spread and extend to Aharon’s grandson as well. Thus, restoring the Kehuna and making it flawless. So, on the one hand, Pinchas merited to earn the Kahuna, but on the other hand, it was an extension of the kedusha of Aharon.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

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