Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Parshat Pinchas Preverted

This weeks Torah portion is Parshat Pinchas. It begins by finishing the story of the Zealotry of Pinchas, wherein he spears Zimmry and Cosby, killing them while they are in the peak of their sinful act. In doing so he averts a plague and is elevated by G-d to the status of a Priest.

The story of Pinchas is not one easily understood. The key is to remember that, just like his grandfather Aaron, Pinchas was also an Ohev Shalom v'Rodef Shalom (a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace).

Unfortunately, a lot of people use the story of Pinchas as an excuse to promote violence and subvert the law against individuals who are involved in sinful behavior. As if on cue with the parsha this week, fliers in Jerusalem have appeared offering NIS 20,000 (20,000 New Israeli Shekels, or about $4,500) to anyone who will kill participants in the International Gay Pride Parade scheduled for Jerusalem next month. [Read the Arutzsheva Story Here]

Now, while I may not personally be a fan of having the parade in Jerusalem. (I do feel that it is an unnecessary slap in the face to the Torah Observant communities.) There are many other ways of dealing with it that are both more appropriate, and less criminal. Hate and Aggression are not the answer. I certainly hope no one takes those fliers seriously.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How quickly we've forgotten the end of Parshat Balak.

24,000 people died in the plague that Hashem afflicted upon Am Yisrael for their sins of Pe'or and B'not Moav.

According to most commentaries, it was Pinchas' violent act that stopped the people from continuing their self-inflicted divine punishment. In other words, many in Bnei Yisrael couldn't care less what G-d commanded, as long as they could have their fling of the moment ("it's to die for").

Now think about what we know Hashem teaches us with regard to homosexuality and what the potential consequences are for all of us if we sit back - just like Moshe and the z'keinim did - and do nothing.

And it's bad enough that this should occur anywhere in Eretz Yisrael but even worse that it's planned for Yerushalyim. Is this what Hashem returned us back to Artzeinu Hakedosha for?

Parshat Arayot, in Vayikra 18, includes the prohibition of homosexuality, described as a to'evah - an abonimation. This is precisely what we read on Yom Kippur, for Mincha, at the height of the day. And it ends with the warning that should maybe be taken a bit seriously for a change by us modern day residents of Israel:

For the people of the land who preceded you, did all of these abominations, and the land became defiled.

And let the land not vomit you out for having defiled it, as it vomited out the nation that preceded you.

For anyone who commits any of these abominations, the persons doing so shall be cut off from the midst of their people.

And you shall observe My charge, not to commit any of the abominable practices that were done before you, and you shall not become defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.

We've been warned.