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    Being fired got him fired – Pinchas

    Painting depicting Elijah the Prophet, by Zalman Kleinman

    Pinchas was a fanatic whose zealotry in the cause of God brought him both acclaim and criticism.

    The acclaim came from God Himself who rewarded him for being “very jealous for My sake,” granting him “My covenant of peace” (Num. 25).

    The criticism was that he forfeited any chance of becoming leader of the people in succession to Moses.

    According to the sages (Talmud Bava Metzia 114b), Pinchas was so much like Elijah, whom we read about in the haftarah, that the two can be regarded as identical.

    Elijah constantly said he was jealous for God – but God seems to have been less than impressed. That is why God told him to anoint Elisha and appoint him as “prophet in your place”.

    In the Mechilta the rabbis ask why God uses the phrase “in your place”. Their conclusion is that God is conveying a message of disapproval: “I am not pleased with your way of prophesying”.

    What did Elijah do wrong? Like Pinchas, he was so fired up for God that his fanaticism overwhelmed his patience.

    Being fired got him fired.

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