Should someone be rewarded for acting as judge, jury, and executioner and killing a criminal?
Everyone here, I hope, would say “of course not!” That’s lynching. It’s a terrible thing. It brings up memories of some of this country’s darkest days. Reward someone for lynching someone?
And yet that’s exactly what happens in this week Torah portion, Pinchas.
At the end of last week’s Torah portion Pinchas ben Eleazar, the late high priest Aaron’s grandson, ran a spear through a Jewish man who was publicly engaging in idol worshipping carnal relations with a Midianite woman, killing both of them with one bold stroke.