Sunday, July 9, 2023

Pinchas was an angel

 Bamidbar Rabbah (16:01)And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two spies heresh (Josh. II, 1). Who were they? Our Rabbis taught: They were Phinehas and Caleb. They went and risked their lives and succeeded in their mission.  And they went, and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab. and lay there (ib.). She rose and welcomed them. The king of Jericho became aware of their presence and heard that they had come to search out the land; as it says, And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, etc.  (ib. 2). When they came to seek them, what did Rahab do? She took them away to hide them. Phinehas said to her: ‘I am a priest and priests are compared to angels’; as it says, For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the angel1 of the Lord hosts (Mal. II, 7), and an angel, if he wishes, can be visible, and if he wishes he can be invisible. How can we infer that prophets2 are compared to angels? From the fact that it says in reference to Moses, And sent an angel, and brought us forth out of Egypt (Num. XX, 16). Was it not Moses who brought them out? Certainly; but you can infer from this that prophets are compared to angels. Similarly it says, And the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said:... I made you go up out Egypt (Judg. II, 1). But was it not Phinehas who said this? Yes; but you can infer from it that the prophets are called angels. Phinehas, then, said to Rahab: ' I am a priest and do not need to be hidden. Hide Caleb, my companion. I will stand before them and they will not see me. ‘She did so; as may be inferred from the verse, And the woman took the two men, and she hid him (Josh. II, 4)3: not ‘she hid them’, but ’she hid him’ is written. This proves that she did not hide Phinehas but only Caleb. All this serves to teach you how much these two righteous men risked their lives in order to perform their mission. 

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