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Insights on Parshat Pinchas

Updated on September 25, 2016

Wealth of the Mouth of a Snake

Parshat Pinchas is from Numbers 25:10 to 30:1.

Parshat Pinchas is an extension of Parshat Balak. I have always wondered why the ancient scholars of Israel chose to include the story of Pinchas and his spear in the Parsha of Balak and not put this story as the opening story for the Parsha Pinchas (Phinehas)?

I believe the reason for this is because in the first part of this Parsha, HaShem speaks to Moses in relationship to Phinehas, and how the action of Phinehas turned G-ds wrath away the Children of Israel. The zealotry of Phinehas was approved by G-d and he was then given a covenant of Peace. The focus was to be drawn to the covenant of peace.

However, lets look at the words more in depth. Phinehas is a name that comes from two words. These words are Peh which means Mouth, and N'Chas which means snake. The mouth of the snake is strong imagery. In ancient Talmudic times, as mentioned in the Tractate of Berachos, if one is to see a snake in their dream then it would be a sign of wealth. So there is a strong imagery that can be positive or negative on the perspective of the individual looking at the imagery.

Where it says, covenant of peace, in Hebrew it says "Briti Shalom" which means my covenant of peace. Which is stronger then just covenant of peace. However, there can be a deeper meaning here. The word shalom, it related to the word shalem. Shalom means peace, and shalem means to pay. In the Hebrew language all words have a three letter root. The shared three letter root is SH-L-M. The Sh is represented by one character in Hebrew.

The Sh-l-m root is related to wholeness. Peace comes through having a sense of wholeness. This is related to another concept of paying. One who is in debt, does not have peace. They are always trying to get out of debt, the concern, the stress the pressure can be overwhelming sometimes.

There is another concept that we have strife with others because we owe them something or they owe us something. We helped them in the past, or they helped us, so we have a sense of obligation. When we do not return on this obligation then we feel convicted, horrible, frustrated because we can not return the favor, or pay it back in other words.

So what is G-d saying to Phinehas, G-d is saying to him, if one is Zealous for the work of G-d, then they will have peace. We owe everything in our lives to G-d, and most people ignore the blessings of G-d and G-d himself. We get convicted when we do not return to the Almighty that which is due to the Almighty.

G-d has given us everything in this world, and we are to be stewards off this world. Each person has their purpose in life. Each person has their wholeness that they have to seek from G-d, their peace. For Phinehas' zealotry he was awarded the eternal priesthood, which fulfills the imagery of a dream as mentioned above, and all the wealth that comes with it spiritually.

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      Mark Ben-Aron 6 years ago

      While I find your comments re Sh-L-M insightful, I must correct your describing Pinchas as Peh N'Chas. Pinchas in Hebrew is spelled with a Samech. NachaSH the Hebrew word for snake is with a SHin.