"May your ears hear what your ears are hearing"

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Location: Kochav Yaacov, Israel

Friday, July 14, 2017

Peace with a Piece Missing

After having acted for the sake of Hashem to save B'nei Yisrael from themselves, Pinchas is rewarded with Hashem's "B'rit Shalom" (Covenant of Peace.) But the word "Shalom" in the Torah is broken...the letter Vav is split in two. In fact, it is the only place in the Torah where a broken letter does not render the Sefer defective. Why?
 As I have previously explainedPinchas did what he had to do.  He acted with the purest of motives to defend Hashem's honor and save B'nei Yisrael.  So at the end of the day he should feel fine, right?

I've quoted Golda Meir before: "We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours." There is something deep inside the true Yiddishe Neshama that can't stand killing no matter what the reason. If we are forced to destroy a tzelem Elokim it means we have failed in our mission to bring Hashem's word to the world.

Pinchas, grandson of Aharon HaCohen, the "Ohev Shalom v'Rodef Shalom" (Lover of Peace and Pursuer of Peace), killed two people.  He snuffed out two Divine Images. 

There is no way such a person could not have been affected by that.  It left a mark...a break, if you his soul that he had to live with for the rest of his life.  That's why the Vav in Shalom is broken.

And what was the "B'rit Shalom" that Hashem gave him?  I was trained many years ago, in the US, in CPR.  The instructor explained to us that "Good Samaritan" laws would protect us if we tried to save someone and they died.  (After we were certified, of course.)  And of course there was legally no requirement for us to start CPR if we felt we couldn't handle it.

The ONLY time (at least in the US at that time) someone who was certified could be prosecuted/sued for performing CPR was if they started...and then quit before being relieved by another rescuer or stopped by a doctor who declared the person dead (or collapsed unconscious from the effort.)  Like the silly ad, once you start, you can't stop.

Pinchas started.  He made himself a kanai.  He couldn't put down the mantle once he assumed it.  From then on, any time he saw a similar situation, he would have to grab a spear and (in the irreverent language of one of my sons when he was much younger) make a sinkabob.  And live with the consequences.

And Hashem promised him, "You will never be in that situation again."  That's the B'rit Shalom.  The reward for saving B'nei Yisrael was that he would never again have to lose a piece of his soul in that manner.  That's an incredible promise.

We live in a frum world where too many people think the answer to all our problems is killing our enemies...sometimes even Jewish ones.  (And even 2-year olds.)  We use high-minded-sounding logic mentioning Pinchas and Amalek and other incidents, trying to sound like the Torah is justifying it.  But it is not the logic of is the logic of Korach.  In most of these cases,  the killing would be murder, plain and simple.  Even in that rare case where it is justified, it is not something to glorify or look forward is something that will put a break in your soul for the rest of your life.