• August 28th, 2022
  • Elul 1st, 5782

PINCHAS

Connection to Healing

Presented By
Torah Contributor

Creating Balance to Heal

The portion begins this week immediately after Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron the high priest, kills Zimri and Kozbi with a spear while they are having immoral sexual relations in clear view of the community. Pinchas’ actions stops a plague which had killed 24,000 people and G-d grants him and his descendants an eternal covenant of Priesthood as a reward. With the exception of Moses’ transfer of leadership, the portion continues on and describes things which were previously set forth in other portions with no further discussion about healing or Pinchas. Why then is this portion connected to healing and why does the Zohar dedicate an entire volume of commentary to it? There are two secrets revealed by the Zohar and Kabbalistic teachings as to why Pinchas is connected to healing. First, we read how the 12 Tribes and children of Israel had been plunged into a state of dis-ease and plague as a result of their wanton and immoral behavior and idol worshiping. Their behavior exemplified free love and an over abundance of mercy. Everyone did as they pleased so long as it had physical pleasure. In order to rectify this unfettered freedom, Pinchas killed Zimri and Kosbi – using an act of extreme judgment which immediately stopped the plague and brought balance to the situation. We must similarly strive to achieve balance in our own lives – creating an equal measure of mercy and judgment for protection and blessings. Next, the Kabbalists say that the key to achieving happiness and fulfillment is by converting the natural tendencies of ego, body consciousness and selfishness into the desire to share and help others. When Pinchas witnessed the immoral sexual behavior taking place, he did not think of himself and consider his potential death as a result of killing another person, his potential loss of position and status within the priesthood or his contravention of Torah law. Rather, he acted in a supra-rational way in order to achieve what he believed to be right. By rising above the written word and acting with complete self-sacrifice, he was vindicated for his actions and provided by G-d with a covenant of peace for himself and his descendants. His selfless actions epitomize the conversion of the desire to receive for the self alone into the desire to share – providing for healing and blessings. We can learn from Pinchas’ actions the importance of attempting to rise above the desires of our ego in order to attain the consciousness of sharing.

Energy for the Three Week Period

The portion of Pinchas this year falls during the negative three week period – spanning from the 17th of Tammuz through the 9th of Av. The 9th of Av is known as Tisha B’Av, the most negative day in Jewish history. The day is marked with various decrees to kill the Jews throughout history, the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, among other tragedies. These things did not coincidentally occur on the same date, but rather there is a cosmic window open at this time of the year through which judgement flows towards the Jews. Instead of being subject to potentially negative energy, we have the power and connection to healing and blessings found this week in Pinchas to act as a remedy and a source of mercy to balance this intense energy. By connecting to the reading of Pinchas this week, we can achieve protection and balance for the three week period.

The Small Yud

The letter “Yud” represents several things – (i) G-d (yud is the first letter for G-d holiest name – Yud Kei Vav Kei); (ii) spiritual completion – yud has the numerical value of 10 which is connected to the 10 sephirot of consciousness; and (iii) community – 10 is the minimum number of men required for a minyan. A smaller than normal Yud was inserted into Pinchas’ name following his courageous act which ended the plague and which served as atonement for the immoral behavior of the community at large. We can see how going beyond our comfort zone and acting for others at the risk of personal danger and negative recourse can result in an infusion of G-d consciousness and protection into our lives – the addition of a “Yud” to our name. However, once we bring this Light into our lives, it is important to make ourselves small and recognize that we are just channels for the Light – as opposed to it being the result of our personal achievements or control. When we become filled with Light, as was the case with Pinchas, we must remain humble in our accomplishments, signified by the small yud.

The Broken Vav

In order for a Torah to be “kosher” – there cannot be a broken letter or two letters touching each other. However, in the portion of Pinchas there is an intentionally broken letter “Vav” in the word Shalom. The word is used in the context of G-d extending to Pinchas a “covenant of peace” for stopping the plague. It is suggested by many scholars that because peace was achieved through violence, it was defective, as is the word shalom with the broken vav. However, another viewpoint is that when we enter the three-week negative period from the 17th of Tammuz through the 9th of Av, we can use the broken vav as an opportunity to connect to the word shalom and infuse our consciousness to amplify and achieve peace. By recognizing and seeing the defect in the word for “peace”, we have the opportunity to focus our intention on bringing peace to our selves, our homes, the world and the nation of Israel.

Separation from Negativity

There is a blank space in this week’s portion, a unique characteristic to the Torah. The space immediately follows the word “magefa” – or plague. We can learn from this the importance of always separating ourselves and putting distance between us and any type of negativity. Whether a plague, a person or a negative environment, we should create a space from negativity in order to maintain our highest level of performance and consciousness.