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By Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:” And the Lord spoke to Moshe saying, ‘Pinchas the son of
Eliezer, the son of Aharon the priest, has turned away my anger from the
Children of Israel in that he was jealous for my sake amongst them, so that
I did not consume the Children of Israel in my jealousy.’ ”

Why does the Torah trace Pinchas’ heritage to Aharon, his grandfather?

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, the former Rosh Yeshiva (head of the yeshiva) of
the Mir, answers that only someone who is a true lover of the Jewish people,
such as Aharon who loved peace and pursued it, can react with such
zealousness. Zimri brazenly committed an immoral act with a Midianite in
public. In response, Pinchas killed them both. Pinchas’ reaction might
appear cruel and could have conceivably have been motivated by a tendency
towards violence or by a personal hatred. If one is a true Ohaiv Yisroel, a
lover of Jews (as was Pinchas), however, we can be sure that he is motivated
solely by his great love for the Almighty and the Jewish people.

Rabbi Chaim of Brisk once said about zealousness: “Both the owner of a house
and a cat want to destroy mice. The sole difference lies in their attitudes.
The owner really wants to be rid of them. The cat, however, wants to have
mice to attack. The same applies to protests against misdeeds. One must
sincerely not want the misdeeds. One should not just use the misdeed as an
opportunity to engage in protesting.

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