Sedra Pinchas 120 Words, Vicarious Atonement
The people are being punished for their sins.
Pinchas, as a vigilante, avenges Gd’s honour and thus quells Gd’s anger.
The plague afflicting the people is halted. If not for Pinchas, Gd would have finished off the people [25:11]
Do we picture Gd on the angry pills, uncontrollably smashing everything within reach until Pinchas stands up for His honour?
Seforno explains: we sinned by omission, we witnessed desecration of Gd’s honour and did not act, as though this was of no relevance to us. This brought about the plague, devastation brought about by being proximate to disease and not seeing its relevance to us.
And so when we witnessed Pinchas the vigilante, and his summary execution of people of high distinction, and again remained silent, it was enough to atone.
More importantly, it was enough for us to learn the lesson, not to be a silent spectator, not to be an idle individual.
Those who Love Gd, OHaVei HaShem, Hate evil, SinU Ra, and they do something about it.