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    The payment of Pinchas

    When a grave sin was committed in the Israelite camp, Pinchas was shocked.

    If he were a calm and cool personality like his grandfather Aaron, he might have handled the crisis differently. Aaron was known to be quiet and diplomatic, but this was the rash and indignant Pinchas, who took swift action and slew the couple who had behaved wrongly.

    We probably would have expected that Pinchas would lose his priestly status, but God was understanding and compassionate and said that Pinchas had averted His anger and would be rewarded with the Heavenly covenant of peace.

    Abravanel says that the covenant of peace meant Divine protection from vengeance. The sages say that it was Moses against whom Pinchas needed protection. Aaron and the Sanhedrin felt that a kohen who took the law into his own hands really should have been punished by the national leader but had God’s assurance that he would be scot-free.

    Another commentary, the Ha’amek Davar, feared that Pinchas, having once taken drastic action, might act that way again and needed to be saved from himself and warned not to make a habit of it.

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