Success and great leadership go hand in hand. That is why organizations, sports teams and even countries can continue to excel or flounder year after year. The players may come and go, but the culture of excellence exuded by the management permeates the team.
“Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest was the one who so zealously took up My cause among the Israelites, and turned My anger away from them” (Bamidbar 25:10). Whereas normally, the Torah identifies a person with their father’s name, in this instance, the Torah emphasizes the fact that Pinchas was the grandson not just of Aaron, but of Aaron the priest.
"And they called the people to their religious sacrifices, and the people ate and worshipped the Moabite gods" (Bamidbar 25:2). How could the Jewish people—on the threshold of entering the land that the "eyes of G-d, your Lord, are on it at all times"—violate the most cardinal of Judaism's precepts?
Parshat Pinchas presents us with at least three distinct models of leadership. Our parsha gets its name from the zealotry of Pinchas who, without warning, killed a leader of the tribe of Shimon and the Midianite women he was sinning with. Ironically, his act of violence earned him a covenant of peace; Pinchas merited both safety from those who might have sought revenge, and inner peace and calm allowing him not to feel guilty over the lives he took.
"And Moshe did as G-d had commanded and he took Joshua and stood him before Elazar Hakohen and before the people" (27:22). Moshe's role as leader is coming to an end. His fervent desire to enter the land of Israel is to be denied. "G-d said to Moshe, climb the Avarim Mountain where you will be able to see the land that I am giving to the Israelites" (27:12). Yet despite his personal disappointment it is he who approaches G-d asking that a new leader for the people be chosen.