Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Pinchos - Rav Gedalia Schorr - Why Did Pinchos Have To Wait To Become A Kohen?

Pinchos was rewarded, and became a Kohen, after he courageously defended Hashem's honor by killing Zimri. Although his father was Elazar, and his grandfather Aharon HaKohen, he, himself, was not a Kohen since Hashem only bestowed the Kehuna on Aharon, his children, and the grandchildren born thereafter; whereas Pinchos had already been born. The Maharal MiPrague asks, "Why did Hashem do this strange thing and rob him of the stature that he rightfully deserved from the beginning?"

Rav Schorr answers that the reason why Pinchos earned the Kehuna was that this killing was considered an act of chessed. Any act done L'Shem Mitzva will have the opposite of the detrimental effect that would logically follow (e.g., getting rich from giving tzedaka). Although murder is the ultimate cruel act, when done in a manner that would be a mitzva, it is the ultimate chessed.

However, the halacha remains that a Kohen who murders may not perform Birchas Kohanim. By not giving Pinchos the status of a Kohen, he earned it with the killing of Zimri. Had Pinchos already been a Kohen, that very same act would have made him forfeit his right to serve as a Kohen.