Israel Without a Pinchas

[Professor Paul Eidelberg]

Summary ... Ah for a Pinchas! "It was the honest brave act of Pinchas," writes Rabbi Hirsch, "which saved the nation and restored his peace with God and His Law and thereby brought back the basis for real true peace on earth." If we cannot find a Pinchas among us, let us at least stop seeking peace with those who revile us and plot our destruction.

There is no Pinchas in Israel today, no one whose paramount concern is God's honor.

Pinchas was rewarded by God for his decisive action in killing Zimri and Kosbi. Zimri, a prince of Israel, was consorting publicly with Kosbi, a Midian princess steeped in idolatry. For his otherwise warlike act, Pinchas was rewarded with the Eternal Covenant of Peace — the Brit Shalom. How are we to explain this seeming paradox.

In his commentary on Pinchas (Numbers 25:12), Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch's defines God's Eternal Covenant of Peace as "a state of the most complete harmony," and not only between man and man, but between man and God. He points out that, like the covenant or brit with Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov, so the brit with Pinchas represents God's decision and promise that Peace will ultimately reign over the whole world. But meanwhile, mankind, rather than act in manner conducive to the "highest harmony of Peace," thoughtlessly hides its duty under the cloak of "love of peace." At the same time, it condemns those mindful of their duty to God as "enemies of peace."

"Peace," Rabbi Hirsch continues, "is something highly precious, for which everything, all one's own rights and possessions may be sacrificed, but never the rights of others and never what God has declared to be right and good. True Peace of men with each other rests on the peace of all of them with God. He who dares to wage war with people who are against Divine Goodness and Truth is, in the midst of his fight and by it, fighting for the Brit Shalom on earth. He who, for the sake of so-called peace, quietly leaves the field to people who are at variance with God, his love of peace is at one with the enemies of the Brit Shalom on earth."

Those who intone the love of peace with the Palestinians — Israels adjacent Jew-haters — are the enemies of true peace, the enemies of the Brit Shalom on earth. There can be no peace without honor, and no honorable person will ever seek peace with Arabs who train their children to hate Jews and emulate suicide bombers. To desire peace with such villains is to lower oneself to the level of a dog that turns on its vomit.

For my part, I desire peace only with trustworthy human beings. I do not want peace with treacherous barbarians who justify their barbarism in the name of Allah.

Above all, I do not want peace with the enemies of God. Thus King David: "I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee ... I hate them with utmost hatred" (Ps. 139:21, 22). "They hold crafty converse against Thy people ... They have said: 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.' For they have consulted together with one consent; Against Thee do they make a covenant; the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites ..." (Ps. 83:4-7).

Would that this were the core of Jewish thought, action, and passion today. It is precisely because too many Jews are not actively concerned about the honor of God that they are humiliated by the nations, and now by their own government which treats them like children.

Let us not be intimidated by fools and knaves who call us "enemies of peace." Let the media, that thrive on war, and that know nothing of truth and goodness, slander us as "war-mongers." Winston Churchill was also maligned as a "war-monger." Yet, it was not Churchill but "peace-lovers" like Neville Chamberlain who precipitated the most destructive war in history including the Nazi Holocaust. We have worse than a Chamberlain ruling Israel today, for Chamberlain sacrificed Czechoslovakia, not his own country.

Let us not even say we want "true peace" with our enemies — which is not to say I want war. Enough of the slogan "peace with security." Let us boldly and honestly say "We do not want peace with Arab despots and tyrannies, for such peace can only disarm our people and incite the wicked to make war.

Ah for a Pinchas! "It was the honest brave act of Pinchas," writes Rabbi Hirsch, "which saved the nation and restored his peace with God and His Law and thereby brought back the basis for real true peace on earth." If we cannot find a Pinchas among us, let us at least stop seeking peace with those who revile us and plot our destruction.

[ Published: July 9, 2005 ]

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