What is so Special about Pinechas?
What about Pinechas' slaying of Zimri made it so praiseworthy that it stopped a Divine plague and merited him special status and Divine favor?
- In his act, was Pinechas taking the law into his own hands or was he merely following orders? If the former, why was this not only allowed, but praised? If the latter, what made Pinechas' act unique? Compare the approaches of the Bavli and the Sifre, and bring support for each possibility from the verses.
- Was Zimri's sin one of fornication or idolatry? How did it relate to the sin of the nation? How do the different possibilities affect your understanding of Pinechas' actions? For a full discussion of these issues, see Pinechas – Action and Reward.
For more, see: Parashat Pinechas Topics.