Pinchas: When to Be Aggresive

My wife and I took our yearly road trip this week.  Originally, it was planned for several months ago, however, two days before we were to get the rental car, the entire country closed down.


So, with another lock down looming, we decided "Now or Never."  It was really enjoyable.  We started off doing the hike at the Banyas, a tributary of Mt. Hermon, in the Golan.  After that, we took our time, driving throughout the Galilee, visiting different burial sites of famous personalities throughout history.


At one point we had to drive through an Arab village, which scared me half to death.  Not because it was an Arab village, it's actually known to be friendly to Jews. Rather, it's because Arabs tend to lack this thing called "Urban Planning."  Anybody who has had the experience of driving through an Arab or Druze village can understand what I'm saying.  Their "two-way streets" are mere one-way paths.  There is no concept of "straight."  In fact, when I asked a woman for directions, she started off with "go straight…" and I responded, "which straight?" So, even though I was in a tiny car, I was a bit worried about getting stuck somewhere.


However, I did learn that the IDF needs more Arab pilots.  They might not have the most decorative homes (at least on the outside), but they have very nice cars and are able to fly them within those villages without any issues.

Plus, while we were there, we experience racial profiling to the max.  Everybody we asked knew where we wanted to go and gave us directions, without needed to be asked.

On guy, as we were walking back to our car, stopped his truck and yelled at us: "No, no! It's in the OTHER direction!"

Obviously, we were the only Jews for kilometers :)


All in all, it was a nice break.  I drove over 400 km of northern Israel in two days, davened mincha in a secluded place on a mountain overlooking the valley of the Galilee, spent time with the Mrs. (first time in months without the kids).  Did some hiking.  Said some Tehillim. Went to the beach.  And for the first time since last vacation, we did not bother to care about time.  Ahhhhh…..


"Therefore say: I am giving him My Covenant of Peace" (Bamidbar 25:12).


After Pinchus killed Zimri for Zimri's brazen act in front of the nation, Hashem rewarded Pinchus with His Covenant of Peace.  Being, he was now to be considered a Cohen, like his grandfather, Aaron.  It seems a bit strange.  Here an act of zealous aggression is being rewarded with a Covenant of Peace. 


Rav Naftoli Tzvi Berlin noted that while Pinchos did a zealous act, the act itself could drive a person to become more and more aggressive.  It's human nature.  After all, look at many revolutions throughout history.  Many times, the aggressiveness continues for years after the revolution, claiming numerous innocent lives.  Therefore, Hashem gave him a blessing of peace, that he should continue, even after such an aggressive act, to be a person faithful to a peaceful way.


Any parent, teacher, manager knows that being tough on their children, students, or employees is sometimes a necessity.  Usually, managers don't need to yell, but parents and teachers do.  Being "nice" all the time can sometimes be cruel, while being "cruel," is necessary for the child's growth.


However, the danger of this is that we get used to this mode and rely on it to heavily.  We see that it worked the first time or two, so it's bound to work for any other time.  In a short time, you will end up being nothing but a petty tyrant.


Therefore, it's important that a person should find some way to equalize himself every time he needs to use a more aggressive approach.


Of course, I never have to yell at my children, who are all so ever perfect.  But, in theory, if I do, I have a trick that I would, in theory, use.  Being that every time I've had to yell at a kid, after I send them off to contemplate why I have allowed them to live, I turn around, smile and say to myself, "That was fun!" or something of that nature.  It's vital to try to put yourself in a lighter mood as soon as possible, so you don't go on brooding in a negative way for the rest of your day.  It saves your children and students and it saves yourself from going to places you don't want to go.


With that, I wish you a wonderful Shabbos!