web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Is Pinchas Really Eliyahu?

Leff-071114

It’s one of the midrashim people know. Chazal say that Pinchas is Eliyahu. Both were kana’im, zealots in a positive way, who knew when and where to apply this characteristic.

In Sefer Melachim, Eliyahu asks Hashem to punish those steeped in idol worship to send a message once and for all regarding how terribly evil idolatry is. Hashem resists Eliyahu’s plea and says that at this time, He will only deal with a “kol d’mama dakah,” a soft voice. The reasons for this are not explained. However, Eliyahu continued being forceful with the people. It was then that Hashem told him he could no longer be His primary representative and asked him to go get Elisha and make him his student.

The stark comparison between the zealot personality of Eliyahu and of Pinchas, who is also called a kanai, creates a strong link to this section of Navi (Melachim 1, 18:46-19:21), and a perfect choice for the haftarah for Parshas Pinchas.

The Yalkut Shimoni on this parsha is one of the many midrashim that says Pinchas is Eliyahu. Obviously, if Pinchas was biologically the same person as Eliyahu that would mean that he lived from Yetzias Mitzrayim until the time of King Achav, approximately 600 years. This would be quite an anomaly given that the maximum age people lived at that time was the classic 120 years of Moshe Rabbeinu (a bracha we give each other to this very day). That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, only that it would be very unique. Then again, there are many things about Eliyahu that are exceptional, not the least of which is his ascending to Heaven while still alive.

There are clearly commentaries and even passages in Shas that do dispute the idea of Pinchas being biologically the same person as Eliyahu. They were similar in nature, no doubt, but were not actually the same people. So what does the midrash mean? Let us study a passage of Maharal (Ohr Chadash, page 101) who explains a major yesod, foundation, in understanding midrashim which say that two differently named people are actually the same person.

The Gemara in Megillah (12b) says that Memuchan, one of the seven advisors of Achashveirosh mentioned early in the Megillas Esther, was actually Haman. The Maharal refers us to Targum Sheni (2:1) where it says that when Achashveirosh regretted killing Vashti on the advice of his advisors, he had them all executed. If so, says the Maharal, Memuchan was not actually Haman, since Haman wasn’t killed at that time. What then do Chazal mean?

The Maharal explains that the intent is that both Memuchan and Haman were similar in nature; both were born under the mazal of ma’adim or Mars, known for “producing” those who are involved with blood (see Shabbos 156a), and had similar life goals. The upshot of the Maharal is that sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively. In other words, sometimes they are the same person, and other times not. Thus, perhaps when Chazal say Pinchas is Eliyahu it is not meant in a literal sense. They were similar in many ways and had similar missions in life, but were not actually the same person.

Another Maharal relevant to our discussion explains a famous midrash regarding Og, King of Bashan, which seems to indicate that he lived a very long time. Rashi (Bereishis, 14:13) cites the midrash which says that Og was a survivor of the mabul, the flood at the time of Noach. How did Og survive? A different midrash says that he held on to the Ark. If taken literally, this means that although the Chumash is quite explicit regarding the entire world being destroyed except for the righteous Noach and his family, somehow Og was a survivor as well. The Maharal there questions a literal interpretation of this midrash. Og was known to be a wicked man, a rasha; why would Hashem allow him to live close to 1000 years and be killed by Moshe Rabbeinu?

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Is Pinchas Really Eliyahu?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Islamic State flag displayed from Arab residence
IDF Arrests Terrorist Linked with ISIS
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi Boruch Leff
Leff-111414

If you’re always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy.

Leff-101014-Zecharia

Hashem created all human beings and it should sadden us when Hashem, their Father, does not see nachas from them.

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

Yehoshua knew that the outcome of the battles would depend not on military might, but on the spiritual strength of Klal Yisrael.

The question begs: how in the world can we accept that Bnei Yisrael en masse did not ever keep the mitzvah of shemittah?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/is-pinchas-really-eliyahu/2014/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: