Pinchas: Let’s Learn About “Peace” From Pinchas

The concept of “peace” has been so badly distorted in this generation, that the very mention of the word has come to represent a specific political point of view. What is even worse is that when an opposing point of view adopts this concept, they are compelled to adopt the same axioms of the “new” and twisted interpretation of the concept of peace.

The Torah Policy of Peace
Though it is not an easy task, we suggest examining the original concept of “peace” as it was meant to be understood in our sources. In such a way we will be able to map out our “basic policy guidelines” for Torah peace that, with G-d’s help, will eventually guide the Jewish government in the land of Israel.

The original source for learning the proper interpretation for the concept of “peace” is from Pinchas, who embodies the ultimate man of peace. Why him? Because he is the man who G-d Himself chose to give the covenant of peace. Such a covenant was not even given to his grandfather Aaron the Cohen, who was coined “lover and pursuer of peace”! Pinchas’ attribute of “peace” was on a higher level than Aaron’s. In this article we will try to understand why.

Peace with the Wicked is not Peace
The question that begs asking in Parshat Pinchas is: “Why was Pinchas given of all things, the covenant of peace? Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to give him the covenant of zealousness, or the covenant of saving Israel, or the convenant of saving the honor of Israel, etc. Does not Pinchas’ act of killing represent the absolute opposite of today’s concept of “peace”??

It is this very question which portrays the confusion and perversion of concepts relating to the idea of “peace”. After all, what has peace come to mean today? It means shaking hands with evil (and the more evil he is, the grander the peace is, for “peace you make with enemies”), saying “Peace, Shalom, Saalam,” and being photographed on the White House lawn – hoping that now they will stop killing you. In other words, the new and distorted concept of “peace” means that one comes to terms, or makes peace with the evil.

Obviously, for any logically thinking person, this definition does not go down “smooth”. After all, normal instincts say that no good can come about by giving in to evil and making peace with it. Nonetheless, many people get dragged along behind the distorted interpretion, due to lack of an alternate interpretion. And so, against their will, they take the lofty and holy concept of “peace” – and start defining it in ways that they themselves have doubts about.

First Step – Uprooting of Evil
What we must do then, is to rescue the concept of peace, and define it properly so that we can restore the holiness of the concept. By doing so, not only will we know the Jewish definition of the concept, but we will have the added benefit of not having to associate the holy concept of peace with the abominable ideas of murdereous Western leaders!

Pinchas’ act of killing Zimri and afterwards meriting the peace covenantteaches us that the Torah’s way of bringing peace is by making the world a better place. The first step towards this goal is the uprooting of evil and evil-doers from the world. “Sur Me Rah” – turn from evil, or remove evil – this is the first step in making the world a better place. On the other hand, making peace with evil, or even worse, giving in to it, is the very opposite step that one can take if he wants to arrive at peace.

Peace is not the mixing of good and evil and the attempt to create acoexistence between them, as we have been trained to think! The very opposite. There is no coexistence between good and evil, nor is there partnership between good people and evil people! The Master of the Universe expects from the righteous that they will burn out the evil from the world – “and you shall burn out the evil from thy midst”, the Torah commands us in so many places – and only in such a way will peace reign in the world.

Pincahs Didn’t Cry
This concept is so powerful, that the sages compare the offering of sacrifices on the altar which is a symbol of peace — to the killing of the wicked. “To teach you, that when the blood of the wicked is spilled, it is as if a sacrifice was offered”. (Tanchuma, Pinchas, 1) For these are the two sides to the peace – remove yourself from evil – do good. There is not one without the other.

That is why Pinchas was worthy of receiving the peace coveneant. For when all the leaders, including Moshe and Aaron cried (“and they cried”) from the wicked’s threat, hiding themselves in their tents or in their yeshivas, the younger Pinchas arose, and eradicated the evil. True, his grandfather Aaron was a symbol of the love and pursual of peace, but evidently he was weaker in the area of uprooting evil. And since there is no peace without the purging of evil, Aaron had to leave the peace covenant for his grandson Pinchas, who was able to intergrate both sides of the peace.

“As long as the wicked rule in the world, so to speak, the Holy One Blessed Be He does not sit on his throne.” (Yilkot Shmoney, Tehilim 47)

Chukat: The Legitimiate Rights of the Ammonites

The modern concept of “Jewish occupied territories” rears its ugly head in Parshat Chukat and in our haftarah, Shoftim(Chapter 11). We read in our parasha how Og ,the king of Bashan, and Sichon, the king of Ammon, try to prevent the Jewish people from passing through their borders to get to the Land of Israel. Both kings decide to wage war against The Chosen Nation and both kings lost. The children of Israel conquer their enemies and inhabit their land. Interestingly enough, no one at the time suggested that the Jewish people return the land that they just conquered to the nations that tried to annihilate them. No, such a proposal was never even considered. But, what if such a proposal was raised? How would a Jewish leader have reacted?

Land For Peace
To answer these questions we move the clock ahead 300 years until we arrive at the haftarah of our parasha. In the time of the Judges, the king of Ammon brazenly demands that Israel return to him the territories that were conquered, and if Israel refuses, there will be war. The king recounts some well-known history: “Because Israel took away my land when they came out of Egypt, from Arnon as far as the Yabok, and the Jordan.” (Judges 11:13) Compared to the demands of today’s Arabs, this demand is quite “moderate”. The king of Ammon, unlike the P.L.O., does not call for the total destruction of the Jewish State. He only wants that which was taken from his people. In words that echo in the U.N. and in Washington, the king concludes his demand in the following manner: “Now, therefore, restore those lands peacefully.” Peace – that magic word. What normal Jewish leader can refuse such an offer? After all, Ammon’s claim is not an unreasonable one; the lands were taken from them. Ammon, unlike the P.L.O., once had a sovereign empire with a capital and an army on that land. And most importantly, here was a genuine opportunity for peace – no more war, no more bloodshed.

Not One Inch
The answer Yiftach returned to to the king of Ammon is far different than what Rabin and Peres told Arafat. Yiftach recounts all the past history, and then concludes: “So now the Lord of Israel has driven out the Amorites from before his people, Israel, and you should possess the land?! Will you not possess what your god, Kemosh, gives you to possess? And all whom the Lord, our G-d, shall drive from before us that we shall possess.” (Judges 11:23-24) This is the reaction of a true Jewish leader. A reaction based on emunah – faith in the word of G-d. The land is ours not because of any historical claim or because we defeated the former inhabitants in battle. Rather, the land is ours because G-d gave it to us and we have no right to give it up…

How To Subdue the Enemy
Ma’ase abot siman labanim – the deeds of our fathers are signs to the children. One needs only to study our Torah to learn how to deal with our enemies who initiate wars and then cry “Jewish land for peace”. The Arabs have attempted to destroy the Jewish State through four wars and much terrorism and when that failed the P.L.O. and the other Arabs went to the negotiating table and demanded Jewish land or else there will be no peace. Unfortunately, there are Jews who have little or no faith in the G-d of Israel who are (mis)leading the country today. These politicians are unfamiliar with the story of Yiftach and do not understand that our true right to the land of Israel is only because G-d gave it to his people as an eternal inheritance. May we, and our leaders, be worthy of having faith in the Al-mighty so that our enemies may be subdued as they were in the days of Yiftach.

Vayera: A Forbidden Pact: The Precedent

There is a particular Rashbam in “Parshat Vayira” which Rabbi Kahane brought down constantly. The Rashbam asks: Why is the story of the pact between Avraham and Avimelech adjacent to the story of “Akeidat Yitzchak” which follows immediately thereafter, and opens with the words, “And it came to pass after these things…” – words that the sages tell us come to express a real connection between these two events?

The Rashbam gives the following answer: “After the pact that Avraham made with Avimelech, (a pact) with Avraham’s grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, he gave him seven lambs. And the Almighty became enraged by this, for behold, the land of the Philistines had been given toAvraham … and the Almighty commanded them, ‘thou shalt not allow a soul to live’. Therefore, ‘Hashem tested Avraham’ – to teach him a lesson… That is, you were proud of the son I gave you, and made a pact between your sons and their sons (of the Philistines)? – go now and offer him as a sacrifice, and find out how useful your pacts are!”

In other words, the Rashbam explains that this pact, including the very impressive ceremony of the seven lambs, was a sin. And why? Because the content of the pact was, “now therefore swear to me here by G-d that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son”. In other words, this was a “not to attack” pact between the offspring of Avraham and the offspring of Avimelech. And what does an agreement “not to attack” mean here? It means that the offspring of Avraham will not be able to attack and conquer the land of the Philistines, which is a part of the land of Israel. By making such a commitment, Avraham is relinquishing a part of Eretz Yisrael! (according to Trachtate Sota, (9-10), only after the Philistines broke the original treaty, Israel was able to fight them and take their land from them.)

Let us understand what the Rashbam is saying here. After all, the Jewish People had not yet even come into the world, and so obviously, the Land of Israel was not in their hands. And what did Avraham do? In order to avoid conflict with the notoriously unpredictable Avimelech, Avraham made an agreement with him. What is the big deal! Yet, Avraham is chastised nonetheless: You should have taken into account that such an agreement would tie the hands of your children, preventing them from conquering the land the G-d promised to your seed in the future!

If so, what can one say when the issue under discussion is not an agreement which forbids us to conquer the land of some goy which is presently under his control, (like the agreement with ‘Jordan’), but rather what is under discussion is an agreement to turn over parts of the land of Israel which G-d gave us and is already under our control?! Can there be a Hillul Hashem greater than this?

Let us go another step further. After all, the principle we have discussed here is, thank G-d, close to the hearts of many Jews who understand the absurdity and the sin in the giving up of parts of Israel to our enemy. But what other sorts of pacts or agreements with a gentile, that does not include concessions? We have become used to thinking that this is a wonderful thing! What huge efforts our foreign ministry makes in order to establish ties with the most obscure of countries. What great pleasure is derived when another “Zimbabwe” or “Honolulu” is ready to establish diplomatic relations with Israel…

Is it so simple that such a thing is permitted? Here is what the sages think about it in “Eliyahu Raba”, chapter seven: “Man must remember in his heart that he must not make partnerships with a goy, and not to make a pact with him, as we found with Avraham Avenu, who made a partnership (with Avimelech) … and from here they said: there is not a nation in the world which does not enslave and torture Israel more than a few hundred years, and it is all because Avraham made a pact with a goy. From here it was said: whoever makes a partnership with a goy…” See in it’s entirety. The above Rashbam also brings down Midrash Tehilim, which mentions several tragedies which struck us, because of the seven lambs that Avraham gave to Avimelech: Israel lost seven wars, seven righteous Jews were killed, seven tabernacles were destroyed, and other tragic events.

Let us accept upon ourselves this national isolation, not as some evil decree, but rather as Rabbi Kahane put it at the end of his book, “On the Emunah, and on the Giula”: “A nation that shall dwell alone – is it a curse? On the contrary! Inherent in our isolation is the salvation of the Jew and the sanctification of his G-d.”

Peace?

    PEACE! Peace Now! Peace in twelve minutes if only we will give up the “occupied territories.” Peace INSTANTLY! There will be no peace. There cannot be peace. The Stranger sees us as robbers and his national pride and soul will see him hating the Jewish “bandit” and “thief” forever. As long as there is an Israel, a Jewish state, there will not be peace. And let none of the sterile intellectuals and lamentable liberals and corpulent wealthy Establishment types leap to their feet in indecent indignation and shout: “The Kahanists do not want peace!” Foolish little gnomes. Those who live in Newton Center and New Rochelle and Westport and the Island and the Valley (and all other places that begin with a definite article) and who belong to the Temple (praying to G-d knows what, for surely it is not G-d), rail against the one who lives in Israel. Those who never served in the Israeli Army and whose sons and sons-in-law never did and never will, climb the barricades for “peace” and rail against the one who does and whose sons and sons-in-law do. Of course, we do not want peace. Of course, we enjoy seeing our children serve in the army. Of course, we want them to fight in a war. Not only are the gnomes tiny people with tiny minds, they are indecent, too.

    Of course, we want peace and so does every Jew in Israel. The problem is that the ARAB does not. He does not because he sees the peace that the Jews desire as being unfair, as being a legitimization of the robbery of his land and his country. Does any Jewish liberal know how many kibbutzim are built on land that was once Arab before they fled in 1948? That they want that land back? How many Jewish Establishment types know that the artsy-craftsy village of Ein Hod, in which sit and “create” Jewish artists and sculptors and writers of the leftist, humanist and universalist persuasion, stands on the ruins of an Arab village that was named Ein Chut and that some of its former inhabitants who were forced off are now asking that their village be given back to them? Are we prepared to do that? Are we THAT mad? What does peace mean to the liberal, leftist, humanist Jew and leaders of the Jewish Establishment? It means the existence of a Jewish state that stands on what the Arabs call “Palestine.” It means that a large area, taken from the Arabs and now controlled by the Jews in a state that they call a Jewish state, will be legitimized. It means that the Arab in that Jewish state will be a stranger, albeit treated “fairly.” Does anyone with a modicum of sense believe that the Arab considers this to be “fair?” Especially when – thanks to the Jewish lemmings of our time – he is convinced that time is on his side and that his staying power will far exceed that of the Jews who have a spiritual fifth column of self-hating, guilt-ridden Jews in their midst.

    Peace? There is, to be sure, one peace plan that would be acceptable to the Arabs and if the Jews would agree to it, there is GUARANTEED to be peace between them and the “Palestinians.” That plan is to give up the State of Israel, the Jewish State. Do we hear protests, even from the lamentable liberals? We should hope so, for none but the most demented of lemmings would agree to THAT. But that being so, KNOW THAT THERE WILL BE NO PEACE. Unless, of course, the Jew returns to his Father in Heaven.

    But that may be even more impossible than the thought of giving up Israel. In the meantime, for those who see Israel’s existence at the center of their own, let there be no collapse before the blizzard of world sleet and the bitter cold hatred and pressure. The bitter cold grips a man and lulls him, in his terrible weariness, to seek rest, just a little rest. To pause and lie down and sleep – just for a moment. That moment is death. The warmth that creeps over him is the beginning of the most terrible cold of them all, the cold of death. Similarly, those who grow weary of the bitter cold, the ongoing struggle against the Arabs, can easily fall victim to the siren sound of those who raise the warm flag of “peace.” Soothing and seductive proposals of a false “peace,” the terribly false warmth that lulls the weary Jew – weary of war – to rest, for just a moment from the cold of hatred and battle. To rest and accept compromise and give up land for peace and to trust the Arab. It is such a warm moment. It is the moment that leads to death. It is the false warmth that leads to the cold reality of the destruction of Israel.

    We are weary? We have been fighting the Arabs for 50 years? Nonsense! We have been fighting an entire world for more than 3,000 years and if our ancestors had been as weary and guilt-ridden and confused as so many of our time, where would we be today? We may, indeed, have to fight for another 50 years – or 500! We may, indeed, have to be a garrison state confronting vicious and cruel Arabs who seek our destruction. What of it? Do we therefore surrender to illusion and delusion? Do we therefore walk away from our state? Far, far better to have a state and an army and power that we must be prepared to use and guarantee Jewish survival, than to return to the state of conditions of the Exile that led to the Holocaust. Far better a garrison state than an emasculated state of destruction. All the Jews who have died in 50 years in Israel barely equal the number who perished in one day in the death camps. THAT is a far more warming thought than the warm death of “compromise” and giving up land. Better a Jewish state that the world despises than an Auschwitz that it loves. Of course, none of it has to be. However, it WILL be unless we choose that one path which will give us instant redemption and freedom from all this unnecessary tragedy: TSHUVA, pentinence, a return to G-d and His commandments. How sad that this seems to be the one thing that the Jews simply refuse to consider.

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