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The "Z" Word

Friday, 28 June, 2013 - 12:01 pm

Dear Friends,

Whenever I hear the word “Zealot”, I usually run for cover. Similar to yelling fire in a movie theater, in todays times we would most likely call for the Office of Homeland Security when the Z word is mentioned.

Which is why, in this weeks Torah portion we are surprised, when, Pinchas, who was “a zealot for my Zealotry” is given by G-d a strange reward – “The Covenant of  Peace”!! How does peace fit with zealotry?!

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that Pinchas was young, and for sure had much zeal but his youthful energy was not motivated by anger or hatred but by love and peace. This is indicated by the verse describing his lineage as “Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon the Kohen”. The Torah doesn’t usually identify someone with the granfathers name (especially since it is already evident from a previous Torah portion who Pinchas’s grandfather was) so why mention “Aharon the Kohen” here?

The answer is that Aharon the Kohen was known for one “who loved, peace, pursued peace, loved people and brought them close to Torah “.  Pinchas’s zeal was, similar to his grandfather Aharon, a person consumed by an energy to do good and create peace. True, when it was necessary, there were some courageous acts he needed to do to accomplish this (and it stopped the plague), but on the inside he was simply out to create an atmosphere of goodness and peace between man and G-d and between man and man. When Pinchas’s act “stopped the plague” and brought peace for the people,  that was the proof that he was motivated by good and not the opposite.

The lesson is: We may not run into the same situations that Pinchas had, but we certainly need more of “the real zeal”. When we do the right thing it should also be done with enthusiasm! A sure fire way to know when the motivation is right or not is if the result of our actions themselves bring peace. If they dont’t its probably motivated by negative forces.

A second point: In order to counter the flurry of negativity out there in the world today, we cannot afford to be satisfied with a more calculated and cautious approach to our Mitzvot.  If the negative side is so active, how much more quick and energetic should positive things be!   

The “3 Weeks” have arrived. (Click here for more info on The Three weeks) While it is a period of semi- mourning for the destruction of the Temple and we inhibit our party activities, it is important that we do not simultaneously diminish the spark and happiness we have when performing our duties as a Jew and in fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos. On the contrary, now is the time to increase with zeal the joy of Judaism!

During these next few weeks, please join us at Chabad Natick for increased activities in attending twice daily Minyans, Torah Classes, the Summer Yeshiva series, Challah Baking and true Torah Joy.

Best wishes for a joyous Shabbat!

Rabbi Levi Fogelman

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