Take Risks for What you Believe in

Thursday, 21 July, 2022 - 11:29 am

Moabite and Midianite women were seducing Jewish men and enticing them to idol worship. Pinchas, grandson of Aaron the High Priest, risked everything to stop this behavior and killed Zimri, the leader of the tribe of Simeon. He knew that publicly cohabiting with a Midianite princess, especially by a Jewish leader, was wrong. He also knew that the Torah allows a zealot to unilaterally execute the people involved in such behavior.

But to do that he needed to take a risk. A big risk. Rabbi Yocḥanan says: Six miracles were performed for Pinchas when he killed Zimri. Had one of the miracles not occurred, it would have been forbidden for him to execute him. Pinchas knew that he had to do something. He saw the travesty that was occurring and had to get involved despite the risks of 1) being tried for murder and 2) being ostracized by the community.

He was blessed by G-d that the miracles happened to him. 

In life we don't rely on miracles, but we need to take certain risks to ensure we perpetuate our values.  There are bigger risks and smaller risks. There are risks that are external (how others perceive us) and risks that are internal (how we perceive ourselves). E.G. The risk of closing your store on Shabbos - what will be with the money I get from Saturday sales?  What are people going to say about me? 

When we take risks, not for the reward but because it is indicative of our values, we receive priceless rewards. 

As we see in this week's Torah portion; G‑d praised Pinchas and rewarded his bravery by granting priesthood to him and his descendants. Pinchas was a grandson of Aaron but was not included in the original granting of the priesthood. He got a reward that you cannot buy in a store. A reward that he wanted but is priceless.

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. Maybe take a risk and join us for Shabbat services this week at 10:00 am?

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