Dvar Torah Parshat Pinchas 5770 2010

We have two consecutive Sidrot named after individuals, Balak and Pinchas. These two personalities stand on opposite ends of the spectrum. Balak was afraid of the Israelites who were drawing close to his land. He wanted to annihilate them. What did he do? He did not depend on his own ability but chose to call someone else to do the job for him.

Pinchas, on the other hand, saw an injustice and recognized that this wrong requires correction and a serious action was called for. He did not depend on a third party but did himself what was necessary. This follows along the advice given by the great sage Hillel in Pirke Avot: BEMAKOM SHEH’EN ANASHIM HISHTADEL LEHIYUT ISH, “In a place where there are no leaders try to be a leader. (Avot 2;6)

What were the results of what both of these men did? Balak did not succeed. His intentions were defeated and no one was able to help him. Pinchas, however, succeeded in stopping the wrong that was going on and Hashem rewarded him for his actions.

When we see an incident that requires taking immediate action, whether it is to help someone in distress or to prevent a wrong doing, we should not stand by and wait for someone else to perform. We ourselves should act without hesitation.

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