Dvar Torah 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.’ ” (Numbers 25:10-11)
Why does the Torah trace Pinchas’ heritage to Aharon, his grandfather?
Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, the former Rosh Hayeshiva (head of the yeshiva) 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 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 misdeeds. One must sincerely not want the misdeeds. One should not just use the misdeed as an opportunity to engage in protesting.