Sunday, July 9, 2023

Kanoi a path in Avodas HaShem

 The word kanoi is usually said as an insult or derogatory description. But it seems that the Torah views it as a legitimate approach to life.   

A clear case is that of the prophet Elijah. While it seems at first glance that his approach was disapproved by G-d as he was told after killing idolaters that he needed to appoint a replacement and then he died. It should be noted that he went to heaven while alive and in fact became an angel, In fact only two men achieved this Chanoch and Elijah. Clearly he achieved spiritual perfection.

Another example is Pinchas. At first glance he seems to be portrayed as a hot head, a genuine fanatic. Someone who has the presumption to kill a gadol or major leader of the Jewish people and was rewarded by G-d with the bris of Peace and became a cohen. The Zohar notes that he not only saved the Jewish people from a plague but he did ths without official authorization. Moshe had been given the task  by G-d to kill the idolaters which had caused G-g's anger and the resulting deadly plague. But before he carried out the command Pinchas killed Zimri. The Zohar says his unauthorized killing not only stopped the plague but atoned for the sin of Aharon's sons which was also an unauthorized act

The medrash says the bris of peace he was given was not simply protection from the wrath of the defenders of the system but rather was a show of approval. It notes the word shalom is written with a small vov and thus the word is actually shalem (perfection).  I once asked the Tenker Rav how Pinchas could kill without authorization. He replied with a story of the Baal Shem Tov.

The Baal Shem Tov had a student that he was constantly insulting and shaming. The other students asked how he could do this since it was equivalent to murder and causes the loss of Olam Habah. He replied that he knew this one student was soon to receive horrible suffering from Heaven for something he had done. By embarrassing him he was saving him from this punishment/

The Tanker Rav said we see his sole motivation was his love of his fellow Jews and had no concern for the consequences for himself

In addition one of my sons was a kanoi at an early age. I took him to see a well known Kanoi - the Shomer Emunim Rebbe. He told him being a kanoi was not done for entertainment or fun and pleasure.

In sum there are two paths in Avodas HaShem - 1)follow all the rules written and unwritten. 2) Do what is needed to please G-d and help your fellow man - without regard to the consequences


  1. Kalonymus HaQatanJuly 9, 2023 at 6:23 PM

    Yes, the modern kanoim are the Zionists, who built a State, an army without permission of the gedolim, to save the Jewish nation.

  2. I thought Pinchas received pre-authorization from Moshe.

  3. This is a very dangerous suggestion.
    One of two possible endings happened to Pinchas - (1) he was partially responsible for Yiftach's daughter's death because the same fiery spirit that benefited him with Zimri and Kozbi caused him to be a stubborn prideful person when she needed him to compromise. (2) All he was good for was being a zealous person who demonstrated God's wrath so he was kept alive for that purpose.
    As for the BST, yes Chazal told us that one who is insulted and puts up with it earns God's forgiveness for his worst sins but where is the authorization to be the person doing the insulting?

  4. yes it is potentially dangerous but is it true?

  5. From time immemorial, the problem has always been how to use power properly. Or, as Ben Parker said, "With great power comes great responsibility". In both Pinchas' and Eliyahu's cases, that power led to a difficulty ending to their stories.

  6. Es la'asot l'HaShem, heferu Toraseicha


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