The Gemara in Sanhedrin 82b interprets the posuk in Bamidbar 25:13 to mean that the atonement Pinchas facilitated, is worthy of continuing to atone forever

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Be the first to greet Pinehas with a blessing of peace, to honor him before the people, as it is stated: “Therefore say: I hereby give to him My covenant of peace” (Numbers 25:12), and it is stated: “And it shall be unto him and to his descendants after him a covenant of eternal priesthood, because he was zealous for his G-d and he atoned for the children of Israel” (Numbers 25:13), and this atonement that he facilitated is worthy of continuing to atone forever.

The Ben Yehoyada (ad loc.) explains something along the lines that tzadikkim provide protection during their lives. In the case of Pinchas, he facilitated protection/atonement that would endure forever. Not only during Pinchas' life.

What does this Gemara mean when it says that "the atonement Pinchas facilitated is worthy of continuing to atone forever"?

I've seen most meforshim (on Bamidbar 25:13) explain the literal meaning of the "Bris Shalom" (covenant of peace), but I was not able to locate any meforshim describing the atonement Pinchas facilitated in light of this Gemara.

  • 1
    The act of procreation is man's attempt to achieve eternity. Since Pinchas purified this infinitude for klal yisrael, his atonement is timeless.
    – The GRAPKE
    Jul 2, 2023 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


The Satmar Rav in his sefer "Al Hageulah V'al Hatemurah" (chapter 16, p. 179 in the pdf-file) explains that Pinchas' act, which was done in front of everyone, caused a great feeling of envy and admiration into the hearts of the Jewish people. The Satmar Rav quotes the Gemara in Bava Basra (21a), which says:

קִנְאַת סוֹפְרִים תַּרְבֶּה חָכְמָה - jealousy among teachers increases wisdom

The Satmar Rav uses this idea and explains that the admiration of the people for Pinchas and the way he acted, caused them to regret their actions and this brought forth a strong feeling of remorse which started the teshuva-process. Hence why the Gemara (Sanhederin 82b) says that "this atonement that he facilitated is worthy of continuing to atone forever".

I also found a possible explanation elsewhere in Al Hageulah V'al Hatemurah. The Satmar Rav says (p. 178) something amongst the line of that the people in previous generations were influenced through the leaders of the generation, who acted according to the Torah and influenced people to behave correctly and according to the guidelines of Torah. In the previous generations, leaders were bringing the hearts of the people to the path of truth.

According to the above, this is why Pinchas' act facilitated a "lifelong" atonement for the people.

A similair idea can be found in the sefer "Shefa Chaim" (חלק יט - פנחס, מטו"מ, דברים) by the Klausenberger Rebbe. In his commentary to parashas Pinchas, the Klausenberger Rebbe explains (right column, in the beginning) that the level of Pinchas was to kindle the inner flame of the Jewish people and to inspire every heart to holiness and purity in the heart of the people. Thus, from this we can see that it was Pinchas' action that "awakened" the hearts of the Jewish people so to speak.

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