Ariel Ben Avraham

Pinchas: Priesthood as the highest level of consciousness

Consciousness is a multidimensional space that encompasses all aspects, traits and qualities that shape human identity. These dimensions range from discernment, thought, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts to talents, skills, creativity, and the ways we approach our fellow humans and our circumstances. All these and their expressions dwell in one single entity we call awareness, in order to experience positive and negative outcomes according to the choices we make through our free well. We can compare this multidimensional space with Noah’s ark, where he and his family shared the same dwelling with pairs of animal species. It’s an appropriate and insightful metaphor for all dimensions of consciousness sharing so many aspects that are aimed to coexist harmonically within ourselves.

As we just mentioned, these dimensions imply different levels and approaches according to the circumstances. Our discernment doesn’t share its space with emotions or instincts, and our passions don’t deal with thoughts or feelings the moment passions express their intensity. This does not means that they are completely separated from each other, because they indeed belong to the wholeness that consciousness is. What we must learn is to make them all manifest their own qualities in the most possible harmonious fashion. In this regard, they require a leader, a guide, a conductor that unite them for such purpose. This conductor is the High Priest as the highest level or dimension of human consciousness, because he represents the utmost awareness of the connection with our Maker, the Creator of all.

We are destined to unite our consciousness under the Creator’s will, and we do that through free will. The Torah instructs us to make positive, productive and constructive choices, and also to correct and redirect the negative outcomes of our wrong decisions. This process is known by philosophers as empiricism — learning by experience –, something the Torah defined many centuries earlier. In order to make the right decisions, discernment is the means to lead us to the goodness we desire, and the Redemption we yearn for. The space in which discernment acts are the ways and attributes with which the Creator relates to His Creation. These guide love’s ways anattributes as material reflections of God’s love.


In this sense, the High Priest is our discernment when it acts in God’s ways. This is the space in which the High Priest directs the remaining dimensions of consciousness: “Be of the disciples of Aaron, a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to the Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 1:12), “Which is the right path for man to choose for himself? Whatever is harmonious for the one who does it, and harmonious for mankind.” (2:1).

This means that what we do must be positive not only for us individually but for others as well. We have to understand the meaning of the High Priest in the context of affection and peace as the primordial traits of love’s ways and attributes. Thus we assimilate God’s Covenant of Peace He gave to Pinchas: “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. Therefore behold, I give unto him My Covenant of Peace.” (Numbers 25:11-12).

It may seem difficult to associate peace with a violent act such as killing two people at the same time with a spear (25:7-8), and this we must understand regarding our relationship with the Creator. Thus we understand that love doesn’t cohabit with anything different from its ways and attributes. Indeed this is a radical and fundamental approach.

We reiterate again that duality exists in our consciousness for the sole purpose of experiencing free will in order to choose from positive and negative. Here “negative” exists as a reference, not as a choice. Pinchas has this very clear in his consciousness, up to the point of committing an act of apparent ruthlessness. Shouldn’t we be ruthless against evil? Can we really afford the luxury of sparing the cause of all our ills, pains, suffering, frustration, depression, sadness, greed, cruelty, indifference, indolence, violence, exploitation, oppression, despotism and totalitarianism? No, we can’t. No, we must not. No, we should not. We can’t allow ego’s negative fantasies and illusions to lead, guide and conduct all dimensions of consciousness, and turn our life and surroundings into a place we regret to live in because it’s been turned into a junkyard.

Once we embrace God’s will as our way, and love as our Essence and true identity, then we have to guard who we are, what we have, and what we do with the shield of love’s ways and attributes. This is how we understand love as our own protection, our task and our reward, for Love is its own reward. This is how we understand the “zeal” of God and His “wrath”. Our zeal and wrath defend us from the perils, dangers and damages of destructive attitudes, careless behavior and negative actions. The lesson of evil, wickedness and negativity is for us to reject them ruthlessly and without any consideration.


Some proclaim that “the evil in the world is already enough”, as if evil by itself is not enough. They make it sound that having “some” evil is fine, and it shows that they have no idea what Redemption is all about. Redemption in Judaism is the eradication of all evil from the face of the Earth which means from human consciousness. Hence this is the prelude to live in peace and harmony as it is written: “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with You the wicked cannot dwell.” (Psalms 5:4), “The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the Earth.” (34:16).

We achieve this awareness through God’s ways and attributes, in the knowledge of Him, in which absolutely nothing is negative: “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the Earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9).

We reinstate all the positive ways and means of love’s attributes by clearing our consciousness from that which we do not need in order to live in the Covenant of Peace the Creator gives us, when we choose His love over ego’s fantasies and illusions. With determination and eagerness we reject and erase negativity from consciousness. With determination and eagerness we embrace Love as the guide and conductor of all dimensions of life.

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 Zefat.