Zealous for the Right Reasons
In the beginning of this week’s Parsha, the Torah tells us that Pinchas was zealous for Hashem’s sake ‘bisocham,’ or ‘AMONGST THEM’ (a reference to Klal Yisroel). What is that word ‘bisocham’ coming to teach us?
I saw in the name of Rav Pinchas of Koritz the following answer:
Often a zealous person or group will separate and create division, for instance, a breakaway minyan or a breakaway shul. Pinchas was zealous for Hashem’s sake BUT he did it amongst Klal Yisroel, i.e. without creating strife, machlokes, or division. As we know, this episode with Pinchas occurs in the Torah shorty after the story of Korach and his followers. Pinchas had witnessed what happened to those who question Moshe Rabbeinu, and therefore Pinchas wanted to prevent a repeat situation.
If we ever need to defend a Mitzva, let us all follow Pinchas’ style in doing so, which was solely for the sake of heaven and without creating discord.
Just an interesting side note: I have noticed in a number of places in Shas, that an Amorah will explain something about a Torah personality with whom the Amorah shares that name, as we have here with R’ Pinchas of Koritz, explaining the actions of Pinchas. I think the explanation is very simple. A name defines the essence. Hence, the Amorah will be especially interested in understanding all aspects about the life of the Torah figure that ‘shares’ his name, as there may be many lessons for his own life to be learned from his namesake’s actions!