To understand the significance of studying the portion of Pinchas, we need to learn about Pinchas—his soul and his spiritual essence.
His story begins on the first day of the month of Nissan. It was the first year after the Israelites left Egypt. Nadav and Avihu, the two sons of Aaron the High Priest, entered the Holy of Hollies in the new Tabernacle to make a spiritual connection. The act ended up costing them their lives. And although God took their souls, their actions revealed a great light that both Moshe and Aaron could see and understand.
Leviticus 10:3 says,
“וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-אַהֲרֹן, הוּא אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר יְהוָה לֵאמֹר בִּקְרֹבַי אֶקָּדֵשׁ, וְעַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָעָם, אֶכָּבֵד; וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן”
“Then Moses said unto Aaron: ‘This is it that YHVH spoke, saying: Through them that are nigh unto Me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ And Aaron held his peace.”
The Holy Ari explained that Nadav and Avihu wanted to make the Tikkun of the sin of Adam, and by doing so, complete the correction for the entire world. They were driven by the light they saw coming from the newly built Tabernacle. It was so close to them, they assumed that as priests they had the power to make the final and lasting connection to the Light on behalf of the world in order to remove all negativity. They made a few mistakes; in the end, they did not succeed in achieving their goal. This, however, does not subtract any value from their act. In fact, they left us with a great channel of light for all generations, and Pinchas inherited this channel.
Other commentary by the sages explains the fire that usually burned sacrifices on the Altar came from inside the Tabernacle, and this time it took the souls of Nadav and Avihu. And yet, their death was unique because their bodies stayed whole and pure. The fire acted as the vehicle to elevate their pure souls to a higher level.
Every Yom Kippur, we read about the sacrifice of Nadav and Avihu. On that day, we make a connection to Binah, the life energy source for the entire world. We do not eat or drink in order to disconnect from our physical aspect and increase our spiritual vessel to receive the light of Binah.
Later in the Torah, we read in the portion of Balak that Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron the priest, killed Zimri, head of the tribe of Shimon who was involved in corrupt sexual acts with a woman from “the other side.” The lewd act severed the connection of the Israelites to the sefirah of Yessod which caused an immediate drain of energy. It created an opening that allowed negativity to come and for a plague to spread among the Israelites killing 24,000 of them. Pinchas stepped in and rectified the situation by removing from the Israelites the cause of the negativity. The plague stopped immediately.
The Zohar explains that, after Pinchas killed Zimri, the tribe of Shimon came after him to attack and kill him. Out of fear, the soul of Pinchas left his body at which point God immediately replaced it with the souls of his uncles Nadav and Avihu. God testifies to the great act of Pinchas. (Numbers 25:11) “הֵשִׁיב אֶת-חֲמָתִי מֵעַל בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל”, has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel.
The law of affinity and attraction was implemented automatically. Pinchas behaved like the Creator, and that affinity connected him with the highest level of light—the Endless Light. God was so happy to be “stopped,” he rewarded Pinchas with eternal priesthood and gave him the covenant of Peace. The covenant (ברית) is the promise of God to reveal special light in the world. God made covenants with Abraham, Noah and Pinchas.
The covenant of Peace (שלום) refers to the Final Redemption and the ultimate peace that will prevail in the world. The Zohar reveals this covenant also included freedom from death thus making Pinchas immortal.
Pinchas lived a few hundred years before he was eventually transformed into Elijah the Prophet. He never sinned, and when he left the world as Elijah, he left his physical body intact. He was 100% pure and holy, so he ascended to the Upper Worlds accompanied by fire s negative elements could not touch him in the ascension process.
This process was similar to the way the souls of Nadav and Avihu were taken before they were given to Pinchas. Elijah also did not lose his body because God blessed him with the power of immortality. As such, he can readily move between the physical and spiritual worlds at will because he did not lose his body.
Elijah comes down to this world to support righteous people. He came to teach Rabbi Shimon many times, and the Zohar shares these studies with us. Elijah visits us during the night of the Seder to connect us to the first and Final Redemption. He will also be the first to announce the coming of Mashiach and for that he is called Announcer of Peace (מבשר שָׁלוֹם).
Elijah also plays a role in the life of every Israelite because he is invited to participate in every circumcision ceremony. In this process, the soul of a child is connected to the Light through the correction of the physical aspect of Yessod. And as the aspect of Yessod, the penis is called covenant (ברית) because it testifies to the connection of the soul with the Light started originally with Abraham.
Pinchas is immortal and is the thread that connects us from the first revelation of light in the Holy Tabernacle to the third Holy Temple. In every daily prayer, we include a section from the Torah portion of Pinchas. We also read the Torah from Pinchas on every Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) or major holiday.
By studying Pinchas, we connect to the heart of the Zohar because Pinchas as Elijah revealed many secrets to Rabbi Shimon. His immortal soul and light is revealed in many places in the Zohar and especially in Zohar Pinchas. In fact, the study of Tikunei Zohar, completed after 1069 daily studies, began with an introduction by Elijah. Called Patach Eliyahu (Elijah Opened), it acts as a channel of light, so it is recommended we read it daily.
The daily study of Pinchas will fill our vessel with awesome light to lead our souls to the Final Redemption. On this path we are accompanied by Moses, known as the Faithful Shepherd in the Zohar, the Immortal Pinchas as Elijah, and Rabbi Shimon who gave us the Zohar as a spiritual bridge.
The study method of the Daily Zohar follows the system of the Zohar bringing the teaching of the Zohar on three important levels.
- The first level is Chokmah. We achieve this level when we read or scan the text with our eyes. On this level, we connect to the consciousness behind the text.
- The second level is Binah. We achieve this level when we hear the reading of the text. By taking the Zohar from Chokmah to Binah, we increase our level of connection.
- The third level is Da’at, which stands for Knowledge. When we study the commentary that explains the Zohar text, we put it all together and the Light of the Zohar is revealed in our lives and in all that surrounds us.
The Torah is our water of life concealed under many layers. We cannot understand it without the Zohar. With daily study, we open the ‘wells’ the Zohar dug for us to give us access to these treasures of light that cleanse our soul and sustain us on all levels of life.
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Between Heaven and Earth: Revealing the Secrets of Pinchas (PDF)