Pinchos with his middah of zealousness, killed Zimri and Kozbi and hence merited to enter the covenant of Kehunah and never to die but rather to continue living in the form of Aliyahu Hanavi Zachur Latov. Why did he merit to become Aliyahu Hanavi especially earning the title of זכור לטוב after mentioning his name, as we mention in the Birkas Hamazon הרחמן הוא ישלח לנו את אליהו הנביא זכור לטוב?
Tehillim 9,13 כי דורש דמים אותם זכור Hashem seeks those who spilled Jewish Blood, He will remember them. We would like to suggest another interpretation in a way of derush based on a minhag instituted by the Alter of Kelm. In order to hear a mussar shmuz by the Alter there was a small fee to be paid. The reason behind this was that if you pay for something you make sure you get your money’s worth to the fullest degree. By sacrificing even the slightest amount, what you hear in the schmuz will remain by you with a deep ever lasting impression.
Therefore we can say that the passuk is referring to a person and not to Hashem. כי דורש דמים with the things that necessitate your input of your money, אותם זכר those things one does not forget easily but remembers for a long time.
The word דמים can also mean blood. One can invest sweat blood and tears in a challenging endeavor which requires toil. The more one becomes absorbed both with body and soul in a task, the more its impression and results lasts. In Koheles 2,9 the passuk says אף חכמתי עמדה לי upon which the Chazal comment תורה שלמדתי באף עמדה לי . The wordאף also means anger which is exhibited through the human nostrils. Torah that I learnt with deep emotion and involvement, discipline and focus, is the Torah that remains and supports a person throughout his lifetime. It is the Torah and avodah which he achieved through mesiras nefesh and blood that becomes everlasting, and supports him with an עמידה in a time of spiritual crisis.
Pinchas’s act of zealousness was a decision with which he was willing to risk his life for. He was in physical danger that Zimri could have killed him. Such zealousness is not a requirement unless one feels elevated to do so for it cannot be instructed by Halacha. The passuk says ויקח רמח בידו that Pinchos took a spear in his hand. The Sefarim tell us that the Lashon Hakodesh of רמח spear, also alludes to the gematriah of 248 the number of limbs in one’s body. In order to achieve this courageous act which might have brought to his demise, he girded all his limbs to act as one force to kill them both. With such a meritorious act that involved such sacrifice דמים ואף , he reached the level of אותם זכר an episode that is destined to be remembered forever. Pinchus therefore merited not to die but to live forever as a malach and achieve the title of זכור לטוב .
Pinchus removed the anger from Hashem who brought about a plague because of the defiant act of Zimri. The passuk says השיב את חמתי he returned My anger. The sefarim write that חמתי is the same letters of חתמי my seal. The seal of Hashem is emes. Concerning emes the passuk writes אמת תכון לעד that truth is eternal. So too the avodah of Pinchus for Hashem’s kovid with mesirasnefesh merited to the middah of emes which lasts forever.
The level of אף toiling with all one’s heart and mind in the service of Hashem is the goal and optimum degree of deveikus with Hashem. This is hinted in the word באף spelled with its inner letters : בית אלף פי which adds up to תרי”גcorresponding to the number of mitzvos in the Torah. How can we get there? The answer to this is also hinted in the באף with only its inner letters ית לף ה which are the same letters as תפילה. Tefillah also requires a davening with heart and soul, disciplined and inner directed, free from all distractions. It is through the koach of one’s tefillah that one is also enabled to infuse his fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos with a deeper service and everlasting avodahto Hashem. אף תפילתי עמדה לי the tefillah I davened with אף will support me.
No wonder the Shemoneh Esraii acquired the title of Amidah. This is not only because when one davens one must have an erect posture. It also tells us that one true inner tefillah alone, characterized by אף can spiritually energize an individual for a long period of time. תכון תפילתי קטרת לפניך (Tehillim 141,2) My tefillah should reach the madraigah of incense before You. Incense relates to the nose and sense of smell. Tefillah has to be a nose experience with emotion and feeling not merely bodily shokling. The neshamah entered man through his nose and we can test if one is alive or dead through his nose. What does that say about our davening? Consequently, it will also affect the quality of one’s mitzvah fulfillment and make them also come alive.
When one infuses his Torah and Tefillah with אף, he will only go up.