In this week’s reading we encounter a ‘zealot’, what you might call a ‘passionate enthusiast’, an individual by the name of Pinchas who saw an unjust behaviour which had no clear Jewish law how to respond to. He took the matter into his own hands and acted bravely to eradicate it, and for this he was rewarded. (see portion Pinchas)
In addition to the obvious lesson about standing up for what’s right even when others don’t, there is an equally important lesson here.
Having zeal or enthusiasm to fix a problem could be very dangerous too, it all depends where it is coming from.
For example; We all get passionate about our children’s development, about the skills they’re acquiring, we only want the best of the best for them. Sometimes we get too passionate and drown them in our expectations or we get angry with them. Our passion toward something has to come from a place of calm, it has to be thought out and deliberate. Ask yourself; Is my passion justified or am I just frustrated? Am I overenthusiastic about everything? Could it be a form of selfishness that we are imposing on others?
Pinchas was a calm and peaceful man, he did what he did because it was the right thing, not because he had an anger problem or because he had a bad night’s sleep.
Impulsive excitement could be damaging, but thought out enthusiasm is a powerful force for good.