Parashas Pinchas

The end of last week’s parashah describes how Pinchas took vengeance on the Jewish man Zimri and the Midianite woman Cozbi for committing an act of immorality. The beginning of this week’s parashah recounts that, as reward for this heroic deed, Hashem granted Pinchas “a covenant of eternal priesthood.” The Midrash remarks (Bamidbar Rabbah 21:1): “Said the Holy Only Blessed Be He, ‘It is just that he should collect his reward.’”
The Maggid explains this Midrash as follows. When a person serves Hashem in an exemplary fashion, Hashem grants him more responsibility in the realm of mitzvos. Pinchas serves as a paradigm for this principle: because of his heroic deed, Hashem granted him the status of kohen, along with the merit of passing this status down to his descendants. (As Rashi explains, although Pinchas was Aharon’s grandson, he did not inherit kohen status, because he was born before Aharon and his sons were annointed as kohanim.) A person who is promoted in this way acquires the opportunity to accumulate credit for additional mitzvos, which generate additional reward for him in the World to Come. We can well say that it is just for the person to collect this additional reward, because his initial exemplary service earned him the more advanced position through which he gained the added credit leading to it.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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