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Therefore, say “behold, I give him My covenant — the peace.” (25:12)

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Pinchas received his reward from Hashem – the covenant of peace.  He represents peace.  Chazal tell us that Pinchas is Eliyahu Ha’navi, the harbinger of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.  Pinchas’ bold action on behalf of Hashem earned him the privilege of becoming the bearer of the Divinely inspired peace on earth.  We are taught that the “vav” in the word shalom is broken in half, so that it must be written in two parts.  Horav Shlomo Breuer, zl, interprets this as a characterization of the lofty task of every Jewish leader,  whose goal in life is to bring about the peace for which Hashem yearns.

In the account of Creation, regarding the second day, the Torah says,  “There should be a spreading sky in the midst of the water, and it should divide between water and water.”  Upon the completion of every other phase of Creation, the Torah  says  “And G-d saw that it was good.”  Regarding the second day,  it does not say “ki tov,” “It was good. ” Why?  Chazal explain that on this day the concept of separation was established. A day which brought  division —  and the possibility of contention — into the world  cannot be described as “ki tov.”   This is enigmatic.  Did not a division take place also on the first day, as Hashem separated between light and darkness?  Yet, the “ki tov” imprimatur was in effect.  What is the difference?

Horav Breuer explains that on the second day the division was of greater significance than on its predecessor.  On the second day,  the division occurred between water and water, two like- substances,  identical  in both character and nature.  Although this division was essential and constructive to the process of  Creation, the Divine record omits the “ki tov,” for a separation between “water” and “water” —  as applied to human beings — can never be a positive occurrence.  Two  like species, two people of similar backgrounds, should not be divided.  Such an act  can only bring negative results.  A division between light and darkness, however, which is ordained by the Creator, is labeled with  the “ki tov” stamp.  Relating to our lives, this qualification intimates a powerful admonition.  When light and darkness, truth and falsehood,  are unified, when they are indiscriminately mixed together, it is a grave cause for concern.  Indeed, at such a juncture, a clear separation, in order to preserve the light and to salvage the truth, becomes a moral obligation of the greatest urgency.

A Jewish leader is one who fights for peace.  He exerts all of his efforts to combat the forces of darkness who would undermine Hashem’s truth.  Only then is he acting in the spirit of Pinchas.

The fight of the Jewish leader must have one overriding goal – to achieve the peace – a shalom, peace, whose “vav” is broken, written in two pieces.  The vav connects, but it also divides.  While there is nothing as desirable as unifying all factions of the Jewish people, a separation of sorts is essential when the unification of conflicting philosophies can be achieved only at the expense of the Divine truth.  Shalom must never be permitted to jeopardize the sheleimus, harmonious totality, of Jewish life which can only be effected under the direction of the Torah.  He who seeks to promote true peace must be prepared to fight for the supremacy of Torah.  Ultimate peace can, and will, only be achieved when we  have the courage to stand resolute and unwavering against those who abuse and deny the veracity of Torah dictate.

The lack of harmony among our own people is nothing short of tragic.  Unity requires true leadership, the leadership of a Pinchas/Eliyahu whose mandate it is “to return the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”  To effect a lasting unity among the various segments of Klal Yisrael requires an individual  with courage, with resolution, with love for every Jew, regardless of his or her background or affiliation.  Simultaneously, it takes enormous courage to close the door on those whose sole intent it is to undermine and destroy Torah Judaism.  Only then will the covenant of peace become a reality.