Parshas Pinchas
Numbers 25:10 - 30:1

Pinchas, G-d's Righteous Servant! ©

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Gematria is a particular study of Jewish mysticism based on the numerical value of Hebrew letters in the Aleph Bais (Hebrew alphabet) as inscribed in the Torah. Jewish Gematria has many disciplines.

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in loving memory to James and Sissy Levin, may they rest in peace

In this week's parsha we read,

And spoke Hashem to Moshe saying, 'Pinchas son of Elozor, son of Aharon the Kohein returned My anger from on B'nei Yisroel through his fanatic zealousness [for Me] among them. And [because of his actions] I did not destroy B'nei Yisroel. Confirm, say, 'I give him My Covenant of Peace.'" Numbers 25:10-12

Pinchas had just taken the lives of the Simonite Prince Zimri and Princess Kozbi of Midian for their open display of perverseness and disobedience to Hashem's commands. Even though this is the situation, in our world Pinchas' actions appear to skirt the edge of so many ludicrous, foolish, irrational actions. Yet, unlike what we read in the newspapers and on the internet or hear on the news, Hashem STRONGLY commends Pinchas for his actions of fanaticism! WHY?

We hear of many actions of fanaticism which claim lives. Those committing these actions claim that they are done with the strongest dedication to G-d!

- Some believe that their actions of refusing medical attention to themselves, their spouse, their children, their parents... are out of the purest love for G-d!

- Some believe that refusing blood transfusions is out of the purest love and obedience to G-d!

- Some believe that taking another person's life honors G-d.

- Some believe that removing people of a different race from the world honors G-d!

Dear, dear reader, there are many fanatical beliefs in our world, many of which claim to be founded upon religion. In our Torah we read that Pinchas, a fanatical man... an extremely zealous man... was commended by Hashem for his actions. WHY?

The Torah's accommodation of fanatical behavior MUST be carefully studied and understood. The Torah DOES NOT provide a rubber stamp for any kind of extreme behavior man dreams up. Much of man's fanatical beliefs are NOT supported by G-d as man claims they are! So what separates Pinchas' actions from so many we see today?

First, Pinchas lived in a community governed by Theocracy, meaning Kal Yisroel, over three million people, were ruled and supported entirely by G-d the Creator. No other proclamation of Theocracy comes close to what Kal Yisroel experienced in the world after departing Mitzriam. That includes the reign of Dovid Ha Melech!

Second, Kal Yisroel as a community and individually reached higher levels of observance than Jews experience in our age. That being the situation, Pinchas was on a high madragah. The Jewish nation lived on an overall higher plateau than we do today!!

Third, we were grouped together as a people. We were NOT disbursed throughout the world as we are today.

Fourth, the majority of us then acknowledged that Moshe was Hashem's choice as our leader. Today we have no central figure recognized worldwide.

Understanding these issues helps to explain what to us today may seem like very extreme actions taken by Pinchas. Notice the Gematrias of Pinchas:

Regil / Normal Gematria
208 = Samech 60 Ches 8 Nun 50 Yud 10 Pey 80

Gematria Kotel
208 = Samech 60 Ches 8 Nun 50 Yud 10 Pey
213 = 208 + 5 letters

In the Gematria 208 we see the righteous Patriarch Yitzchok and Pinchas' action, Haw Rag {meaning to kill}.

Yitzchok {Righteous son of Avraham}
208 = Kuf 100 Ches 8 Tzaddi 90 Yud 10
Haw Rag {To kill}
208 = Gimmel 3 Reish 200 Hey 5

In the Gematria 213 we observe Pinchas as Ah Veer {"strong"}, Haw Raw {"anger"} and Taw Hawr {"to be clean, to be pure"}. What we observe is his great spiritual strength combined with righteous anger and his decision to bring purity to Kal Yisroel which stopped and turned away Hashem's vengeance from B'nei Yisroel. The action of Pinchas was in fact an action of G-d's judgment through Pinchas. So too in a permutational way one can see the hand of G-d through Pinchas' action which was Divine. We see this when we add 1 {which is in honor of Hashem} to the Gematria Kotel as we would in Gematria Echad then we see the end result of Pinchas' action which is purity and the restoration of Ruach {"Spirit"} as in the Spirit that breathed life into all. And if we choose not to take this permutational leap, we still observe the consecutive relationship between 212 - 213 - 214 in their sequential order. In all Gematria, the number immediately preceding and following the Gematria are related like a grandfather {214}, a father {213} and a son {212} in sequence, if you will.

Ah Veer {Strong}
213 = Reish 200 Yud 10 Bais 2 Aleph 1

Chaw Raw {Anger}
213 = Hey 5 Reish 200 Ches 8

Taw Hawr {to be clean, to be pure}
214 = Reish 200 Hey 5 Tes 9

Ruach {Spirit}
214 = Ches 8 Vav 6 Reish 200

Holy reader, we observe the mystical difference, the relative difference and the spiritual difference in Pinchas' actions. Pinchas was a messenger of Hashem's divine judgment and restoration. This is acknowledged in Hashem's words, 'I give him My Covenant of Peace' which in fact gives Divine approval and praise for Pinchas' actions!

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk