Between Zealotry and Self-Righteousness

Rabbi Shai Held

Parashat Pinhas

So deep is the affinity between Pinhas and Elijah, Tanakh’s two great zealot-heroes, that tradition comes to see them as one and the same person. But while parashat Pinhas insists upon the nobility of Pinhas’ zealotry, the Haftarah paints a far more problematic picture of Elijah. Along the way it invites us to consider the ways in which zealotry distorts the zealot’s vision, leading him to aggrandize himself and denigrate others. (5775)