Parsha Pinchas — War and Peace
Can an act of violence or War lead to Peace? Why was Pinchas rewarded with the covenant of Peace?
“Pinchas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned my anger away from the people of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace;”
פינחס בן־אלעזר בן־אהרן הכהן השיב את־חמתי מעל בני־ישראל בקנאו את־קנאתי בתוכם ולא־כליתי את־בני־ישראל בקנאתי׃
לכן אמר הנני נתן לו את־בריתי שלום׃
What roles do religions play in fostering violence and what roles do they play in promoting peace?
These subjects are explored in a course developed by Harvard — University, Contrast this to the Yeshivas today. Are these questions being debated, analyzed, and answers sought.? I would like to think that these questions are being evaluated.
Extract of Harvard Course
“How do religious institutions and ideologies function to support and/or thwart public health initiatives? What are the ideological justifications for functional economic policies and how do they reflect and/or challenge diverse religious values? What roles do religions play in advancing or suppressing educational opportunities and for whom? Are media representations of the religious dimensions of conflict accurate?”
What about Religious Extremism?
Was Pinchas's act an example of Religious Extremism?
Holy war and reform — In this position paper, there is a discussion of the “strong correlation between holy war and societal reform.”
We are living in a very confusing world. The world is in a spate of moral decline.
Let’s look for inspiration from Rabbi Kook from a summary of the Book Entitled War and Peace.“ Rabbi Kook reveals that great wars quicken the footsteps of Mashiach and advance the Redemption of Israel. The uprooting of tyrants, and the triumph of good over evil, prepare the world for the great light of Israel.
Often startling in its condemnation of Western civilization’s moral decay, Rabbi Kook’s writings on war reveal a little-known side of his giant Torah personality. Written during the height of World War One, his essays read like prophecies heralding the rebirth of The Jewish nation in Israel, a miracle that began to unfold in the aftermath of the war.
To balance Rabbi Kook’s essays on war, the book’s commentators have compiled a selection of Rabbi Kook’s writings on peace. True Shalom, he explains, can only be achieved when the nation of Israel is united and guided by Talmidei Chachamim and by the light of the Torah.
When one understands the Redemption of Israel is the goal of world history, one can discover a new spiritual dimension in all of the world’s revolutions and wars.
Our heroes of the past, Abraham, Moshe, Joshua, King David, and the Maccabees, were complete in their spiritual binding — mighty in Torah, mighty in holiness, and mighty in war. our identification with them, and our desire to emulate them, awakens our inner potential.
There are times when Israel is forced to adopt the politics of war, not from a lust for killing and conquest, but to put an end to all war.
Modern western culture, with all of its immorality and falsehoods, will disappear from the world, the holy culture of Israel will be established in its place.
While the general outlook on peace maintains that man’s inner peace will come only after world peace is achieved, the opposite is true. Peace begins at home. this is especially important for the nation of Israel, which is destined to lead the world to Shalom.”
Further reading on the Rav Kooks views on the positive and negatives of religious Zealotry https://haorot.com/pinchas-holy-zealot/
Today — Interfaith — Religion for Peace — Religion for a better world — UNSDGs -Abraham Accords
What is lacking? — Leadership — in touch with the people and with God’s Mission for the world.
The world is in need of Redemption — As per Rabbi Sacks Definition — a better world. I came across this quote from him:
“Creation, revelation, and redemption represent the three basic relationships within which Judaism and human life are set. Creation is God’s relationship to the world. Revelation is God’s relationship with us. When we apply revelation to creation, the result is redemption: the world in which God’s will and ours coincide.”
So, Religion should be a catalyst for a better and fairer world recognizing our vulnerabilities and mistakes , and the need for Tikkun Olam under God’s umbrella.