Pinchas - “Stay Tuned” - It’s “Hollywood!”
This Parasha and the last remind me of “old” TV. Remember when at the end of an episode of your favorite show you were left hanging on a cliff wondering what would happen next? This may be unfamiliar to the Netflix crowd who get to binge watch their shows nowadays, but we had to wait at least a week to see what would happen next, we had to do last week when we closed out the Parasha with Pinchas burying his spear into Zimri and Kozbi, the royal but forbidden lovers who flanted their immorality in front of G-d and man. After Pinchas acts, the Parasha ends, and we only find out how G-d (and man) reacts to Pinchas this week, when the Torah awards him the biblical equivelant of the Nobel Peace Prize-a “Covenant of Peace” and grants him eternal priesthood.
Since the Torah is not a Hollywood creation, however the question must be asked, why were the weekly portions organized by our Rabbis so that the story of Pinchas is divided between the drama itself-the act, and the aftermath-the resulting reaction of Hashem?
Contemplating this, I believe that an awareness a universal truth is taught here: Do not judge an event by the act alone judge it by its aftermath as well. Too often in life, we make judgments based upon our view or interpretation of someone’s act, or by an occurrence, before we give that act or event the time it needs to be reviewed, analyzed, and then judged. As kids, we hate it when our parents make us go to bed on time, until we realize as adults how beneficial those habits were. As adults, we kvetch about our children’s mistakes until we realize how those trials helped our kids grow.
We also believed Pinchas had no right to impose his vigilante moralism without “due process” it took G-d to tell us that Pinchas himself plucked us out of our frozen spirituality and downward spiral into immorality by his brazen act,only later recognized as the reason for our salvation.
It’s a lesson that says, “Be calm and patient in your judgments. Allow the test of time and introspection to examine events before we rush to irreversible conclusions.” That is a lesson that will serve us well in our interpersonal relationships as well as in our role as leaders: leaders of men as a light among nations, and leaders of our own personal destinies, our families, ourselves.
If you’re wondering how one gains such patience in a constantly moving and distracting world, remember-that’s why we have Shabbos. Not just rest for our bodies. But the quiet space we need to bring peace to our souls. So enjoy Shabbos, your “spiritual channel” and stay tuned!
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