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Righteous Indignation

Parshat Pinchas (Numbers 25:1-30:1)

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/torah_portion/article/righteous_indignation_20030718

Last week's Torah portion ended with a dramatic cliffhanger. A plague was in progress, punishing the Israelites for worshipping the false gods. Despite earlier prohibitions and the snare of idolatry, an Israelite man openly brought a Midianite woman into the camp. (Commentators infer that the two had sex.) While others wept, Pinchas pierced the couple with a spear, and the plague was suddenly halted. Pinchas risked both his life and the priesthood. The families could have sought revenge, and priests who kill are normally ineligible for service.

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