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Destiny beckons

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How did an unknown youngster suddenly rise to prominence? Pinchas, the hero of this week’s parsha, was previously unheard of. Though, as a grandson of Aaron, he belonged to the “royal family”, he was an unseeded young man, who, with a single act of bravery was catapulted to stardom.
by RABBI YOSSY GOLDMAN, SYDENHAM SHUL | Jul 13, 2017

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 82a) tells the behind-the-scenes story. Zimri, a prince of the tribe of Shimon, publicly flaunts his intimate relationship with a heathen Midianite princess. Moses is momentarily stymied.

Pinchas respectfully reminds Moses that he himself taught the principle that one who behaves as Zimri did, may be executed by the zealous.

Moses responds that since Pinchas remembered this, he, Pinchas, should be the one to carry it out. Pinchas duly does just that and the terrible plague that had taken the lives of thousands is stilled. G-d blesses Pinchas with His Covenant of Peace and he goes down in history as a hero who saved the day.

But why did Moses forget what he himself had taught? Apparently, Divine Providence saw fit that the great prophet should suffer a temporary memory lapse in order that young Pinchas assume his destined status.

Now Pinchas could have made a simple calculation. Here stand Moses and Aaron, other prominent elders and leaders, and they are all silent. In the face of such brazen moral travesty all these great men stand back.

Who, then, am I to step forward? How can I, little old me, a new kid on the block, stand up and say what I believe in their august presence? Surely, I must keep quiet and hold my peace.

But Pinchas did not say that. And thank G-d he didn’t. Had he kept his silence, the plague might not have been averted and Pinchas would have remained a nonentity.

This, says the Lubavitcher Rebbe, serves a powerful lesson to all of us. If you witness a situation where you feel that you can make a difference, then you must. And the fact that greater people than you seem paralysed, should not necessarily mean that you too should remain idle.

Perhaps this is your unique chance to do something historic. Perhaps you are earmarked for greatness and G-d is opening your window of opportunity. Deny yourself this moment and you deny destiny.

Sometimes the moment is yours. Sometimes greater people may vacillate and the responsibility and opportunity rest with you and you alone. Each of us has so much unlocked potential. Rare and precious are those crossroads of life when the chance to unleash that inner calling, presents itself. This is your baby, your moment of glory, your own personal calling and you dare not desist from it.

Such was the case with Pinchas and such may be the scenario that every one of us may find ourselves playing out one day.

Pinchas reminds us that when opportunity knocks, we should open the door quickly. Do not hesitate. Destiny may be beckoning.

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