Israel Forever

For the week ending 19 July 2003 / 19 Tammuz 5763

The Divine Peace Prize

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Peace is what is on the mind of every Jew in Israel.

Two perspectives of peace are offered in this weeks Parsha that must be applied to the search for peace in our day.

One is the Divine command to make war against the Midianites who terrorized them. The "suicide bomber" that nation sent was no less than a princess whose mission was to harm the Jewish people by luring the head of one of its tribes into immorality and idolatry which would invoke the wrath of their G-d. It took the courage of a Pinchas, for whom this portion of the Torah is named, to eliminate both her and the Jewish traitor she subverted with her charms.

The Jews had no previous quarrel with the Midianites and were happy to live in peace with them as neighbors. But when these neighbors proved to be a threat to the security of the nation the only road to peace was war.

What is most interesting is that after Pinchas carried out his "targeted assassination" of the Midianite "human time bomb" threatening his people, he was honored with a "covenant of peace" by G-d, the equivalent of a Divine Nobel Peace Prize. This came in recognition of the peace he achieved between G-d and His people by "removing the wrath" caused by the spiritual terrorism of the Midianites.

The underlying lesson is that while there is sometimes a need to wage war against external enemies in order to achieve peace, there is always a need to make peace with our Creator by eliminating from within our own ranks the vestiges of immorality and worship of pagan culture in order to secure real peace for Israel forever.

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