The Midrashim [Bamidbar] Rabbah and Tanchumah, and the Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel write that When Pinchas killed zimri and Kozbi many miracles took place.

Two of the miracles are listed as follows:

Bamidbar Rabbah

הַתְּשִׁיעִי, לֹא הִטִּיפוּ דָם, שֶׁלֹא יִטַּמָּא פִּינְחָס. הָעֲשִׂירִי, שֶׁשָּׁמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רוּחוֹתֵיהֶן שֶׁלֹא יָמוּתוּ וְיִטַּמָּא

Medrash Tanchumah

הַתְּשִׁיעִי, לֹא הִטִּיפוּ דָּם, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִטָּמֵא פִּנְחָס. הָעֲשִׂירִי, שָׁמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רוּחָם שֶׁלֹּא יָמוּתוּ.

Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel

נֵס חַדְסְרָאֵי דְאִתְנַטְרוּ כַּד חַיָין עַד זְמַן דַהֲלִיךְ יַתְהוֹן בְּכָל מַשִׁרְיָיתָא מִן בִּגְלַל דְלָא יִסְתָּאָב כַּהֲנָא בְּאָהֳלֵי דְמִיתָא. נֵס תְּרֵיסְרָאֵי דְאִתְקַרִישׁ אַדְמֵיהוֹן וְלָא נָפִיל עִילַוֵיהּ

Translation: 1) Their blood did not drip on Pinchas as not to make him Tamei.

2) Their life was kept in them (as long as Pinchas was carrying them) so as to avoid Tumah.

Question: If they did not die until later, why would their blood make Pinchas Tamei, if it was blood that dripped while they were still alive?

Note: The Sifrei only brings the miracle of the blood not dripping out, but not the one of them not dying.


1 Answer 1


The Matnas Kehuna actually writes that the point of the medrash rabba so as not become impure, actually means so as not to become dirty.

שלא יטמא. כלומר שלא ילכלך ויטנף אותו.

Pirush Maharzo quotes this Matnas Kehuna but offers a different explanation. He suggests that considering how Kozbi was speared, the blood under discussion was actually blood from her makor, dam nida. Which is only impure on a rabbinic level by nonjews, but nonetheless, this miracle spared Pinchas from even that.

שהרי דם זה בא מן המקור שדקר אותה שם והוא טמא ומטמא עכ׳פ מדרבנן בעובדי כוכבים

Edit: If we take this idea of the Matnas Kehuna into consideration and assume that the miracle spared him from a rabbinic impurity, then we can suggest another idea based on a comment from @msh210.

There is something called Dam Tevusa. This is a blood which came out of a dying person which later mixed with blood that came out of him after he died. The details are subject to dispute in the linked mishna, and Rambam rules in accordance with Rabi Akiva there. But according to all opinions there is at least the possibility that the blood coming out of Zimri could theoretically combine with blood that came out of his body after he died and combine into a riviis to render Pinchas impure, at least on a rabbinic level.

This of course is a further step removed from the actual rabbinic impurity mentioned by Matnas Kehuna, as this blood is only a precursor to the blood from after death. However, it is something that could theoretically be impure, that a miracle would be appreciated to save him from.

  • Why would Hashem make a nes to keep Pinchase's hands from becoming soiled. The blood was a result of an act of Mitzvah and kiddush Hashem. (It brings to mind of the story of the Kohain who was punished for wearing gloves while doing avodah, so as not to soil his hands from the blood of the Karbanos). Jul 4, 2018 at 7:53
  • I hear your idea but I would differentiate between them. I don't think we can compare the blood coming out of, say, someone killed in beis din, or by a kanai, with the blood coming from a korban or milah. To show any contempt or disgust at those bloods would be a disgrace to the mitzvah. Showing contempt for the blood of a sinner, whether or not it was a mitzvah to kill him, doesn't seem so bad. Not all cheftzei mitzvah are equal.
    – user6591
    Jul 4, 2018 at 16:29

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