Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Pinchas

Parshas Pinchas - Self-Worship

Pinchas Son of Elazar, Son of Aharon The Kohein turned My anger away from the Children of Israel (Numbers 25:11).

This week's parsha begins with the reward Pinchas receives for a deed he did in last week's parsha. He took responsibility to avenge G-d's honor from a couple who were involved in immoral behavior and idol worship.

The Torah calls the idol Ba'al Pe'or. It was served by the Moabites, and a large group from the tribe of Shimon got involved in immoral behavior with the Moabite women, and then began to worship Ba'al Pe'or. The sages explain that the Moabite women made their consent conditional on the men serving Ba'al Pe'or.

The Sages tell us that Ba'al Pe'or was served by defecating on the idol, a most unusual way of serving a deity.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, of blessed memory, asks how it is possible to pay homage to a god in such a disrespectful fashion. In addition to that, how did the Children of Israel sink so far? The answer he gives is extremely relevant to us today.

The depth of this form of worship is that everything goes. One can even defecate on one's god. The Talmud relates that a certain fellow actually wiped himself on the idol's nose, and the priests lauded him for his excellence and originality! In other words, there is no accountability! This is the highest level of service of Ba'al Pe'or. One can do anything he wishes, and never need to regret it. Now we can understand what the draw was to join the growing membership of these particular congregations of idol worshipers.

This is how the Children of Israel got involved with this idol worship. Once they went over the line of immorality in regard to the Moabite women, it snowballed quickly to manifest itself in the most lewd form of behavior.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz also explains that the view of these idol worshippers is really a slight perversion of a proper world view. That is, that mankind is very great and superior. The attitude that we have greatness can bring a person to a lack of accountability - that he has no one to answer to. In direct contrast - the Torah perspective - is also that we are above all other aspects of the creation. Even angels, come from a lower spiritual source than does the human soul. Consequently, it is an immense responsibility to be on that lofty plain. The accountability is manifold times more when so much more can be expected, and accomplished.

We see from here how easily a person lacking objectivity can err. Only with intellectual integrity and objectivity will a person be willing to draw correct conclusions from facts available to him. If a person is not interested in doing the right thing, and he wishes to follow his eyes and his heart - about him the prophet writes "For the ways of G-d are straight; the righteous go with them, and the negligent will trip over them."

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © 2000 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON SHOFTIM AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

In The Shadow Of Hashem
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Second Pincher
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Recognition of Good
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

> Let the King Be Proud
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

The Battle Is Joined
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Molded Future
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

ArtScroll

Challenged in the Heat of Battle
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5761

Words of Exhortation
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Happy New Year!
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Nerve Centre of the Year
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Temimus: Wholeheartedness Is Necessary To Build Torah Institutions
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Objectively Honest
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Morality of Intolerance
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Wordless Prayers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

The Focus of Rosh HaShana
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

The Most UN-Just
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information