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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Red Lines


It was during the Holocaust when the Nazis invaded the town where a non-religious actor lived. The Nazis desecrated the synagogues. They spread the Torah scrolls out and rolled them into the sewer. They then ordered the actor to pour his water on the Torah scrolls. This actor was not religious. Perhaps it had been years since he had last seen a Torah scroll. And yet, he could not bring himself to perform such a desecrating act. He refused the command and was killed on the spot by the wild beasts. He gave his life for the sanctification of G-d.


In last week’s reading, we read about the Moabite and Midianite women seducing Jewish men and enticing them to idol worship. At that point, Pinchas executed a Jewish leader along with the Midianite princess with whom he was cohabiting. In the opening of this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Pinchas, the Torah praises Pinchas and grants him the reward of priesthood.


Is the Torah here to encourage violence? Pinchas, seemingly in a moment of anger, killed two people! But yet the Torah shares this story because Pinchas, like the actor, had a red line. And once that boundary was crossed, he couldn’t bear to see further desecration.


We all have red lines. Are our red lines in line with the Torah’s red lines? If not, how can you realign yourself?


Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom!!


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