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Pinchas: Rav Aharon of Belz: Holy Anger

The 9th of Tammuz is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Moshe Rokeach, oldest son of Rav Aharon of Belz (1941). Burned alive in a shul, which was burned down by the Nazis.


Spoken a few days before his death by the Germans: “Turned back My wrath from upon the Children of Israel, when he zealously avenged Me among them (Numbers 25:11).” Rashi says that he avenged My vengeance, he expressed My anger. Why would God be so angry? And why does Rashi mention both My vengeance and My anger?

There is holy anger! “A person should always rouse the anger of his Good Inclination to battle his Evil Inclination (Berachot 5a).” We need Holy Anger. From where can we derive holy anger? “The Holy One, Blessed is He, is angry for a second each day (7a).” It is from God’s anger that the righteous can derive their holy anger.

However, God did not arouse His anger while Billam stood ready to take advantage of that anger to curse Israel. Therefore, during those days, Israel had no source for holy anger with which to rouse their Yetzer Tov to fight their Yetzer HaRah. However, once Pinchas roused his anger against Zimri, he aroused Holy Anger, empowering Israel to battle evil.

Pinchas avenged My vengeance, thereby arousing My Holy Anger.

We live in a world of anger. When we ask God, “Why,” we are saying that it is His anger, which means that the world is filled with Holy Anger that we can use internally to battle any evil within us, and repair this world; transform it into a world of peace as did Pinchas.

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