Parshat Pinchas: Our zeal of God’s love

Our mystic sages explain that the highest awareness of our connection with God’s love (represented by the Jewish high priesthood) is beyond comprehension because it transcends both the material and the spiritual realms.

In this highest awareness, our consciousness does not allow anything that questions or threats this connection. This level of perception implies the zeal that will never allow our separation from God’s love.

“Pinchas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest has turned My anger away from the children of Israel by his zealously avenging Me among them, so that I did not destroy the children of Israel because of My zeal.” (Numbers 25:11)

This zeal secures our connection with God, that is and always must be permanent. In this sense, the consequence of this permanent awareness is wholeness, completion, eternity, peace.

“Therefore, tell them, ‘I hereby give him My covenant of peace.’ And it shall be to him and to his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.” (25:12)

Hence, in our constant awareness of God’s love we transform (atone for) every level and dimension of our consciousness in order to create a space for Him to dwell among (in) us.

This transformation occurs when love directs our thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions. With and through love all kinds of strife and distress disappear.

“Distress the Medianites, and you shall smite them.” (25:17)

“Because they distress you with their plots which they contrived against you in the incident of Peor (…)” (25:18)

Our daily dealings with material reality test the ways we approach every situation, and particularly the good traits that define who we are. These traits are the qualities with which we must always lead the best way we can.

Hence we have to care for them by enhancing them, and elevating them for the highest purpose we have in life, which is to fully reveal God’s love in His creation including the dimensions of our consciousness and the world where we live in.

“Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel (…)” (26:2)

It’s important to count, to distinguish and to cherish every single trait and quality that remain firm and strong in us to conquer the negative aspects (the nations of Canaan) that keep us away from our Promised Land.

This land is our life guided by God’s ways and attributes. Hence, dedication and devotion in the way we care for ourselves and others, patience and perseverance to transform negative situations, joy and enthusiasm to be and do good, are among the positive qualities we have to expand in our awareness of God’s love in the goodness our life (the Promised Land) is.

“To the large [tribe] you shall give a larger inheritance and to a smaller tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance, each person shall be given an inheritance according to his number.” (26:54)

The last two long chapters of the portion (28 and 29) refer to our offerings to the Creator, daily and in the appointed times (festivals).

“Command the children of Israel and say to them: ‘My offering, My food for My fire offerings, a spirit of satisfaction for Me, you shall take care to offer to Me at its appointed time’.” (28:2)

And ending with, “These you shall offer up for the Lord on your festivals, besides your vows and voluntary offerings, for your burnt offerings, for your meal offerings, for your libations, and for your peace offerings.” (29:39)

It is important to note that the episode of Pinchas with Zimri is juxtaposed to the offerings, because by constantly elevating every aspect of our consciousness to God’s love, we are manifesting our zeal to always be close to Him.

Our sages reflect on the loneliness that we individually experience in our reaching out to God’s love, and particularly when all levels of consciousness seem to abandon us in our aim to reveal His presence amid the darkness of the illusions in the material world. But the level we must keep always aware of our connection with the Creator (the high priesthood) and our zeal to protect it (Pinchas, Elijah the Prophet) must be permanent.

This is reminded in the haftarah for this portion.

“The word of the Lord came to him. And He said to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ And he said: ‘I have been zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant. They have torn down Your altars and they have killed Your prophets by the sword, and I have remained alone, and they seek my life to take it’.” (I Kings 19:9-10)

No matter how strayed our good qualities may become, we must never lose the awareness that we were created by God’s love, and that His love sustains us.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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