Would you allow your child to marry a grandchild of an idol-worshipper?
How important is yichus (pedigree)? Some people are so consumed with family lineage that it determines who they will or will not marry. When does obsession with yichus spill over into discrimination? Are all people equal or are some more equal than others? Take the current debate over President Trump adopting race-neutral admissions standards, reversing President Obama’s guidelines that encouraged the use of race to promote diversity.
Is enlightenment exclusive only to a select few? Is there such a thing as objective elitism or is it only an illusion of the elite?
Some interesting insights into the answers to these questions come from this week’s Torah reading where we focus on the theme of yichus, namely the mixed lineage of Pinchas – whose paternal grandfather was Aaron, the High Priest, while his maternal grandfather was an idol-worshipper.
This sermon demystifies the mystique behind yichus and analyzes the delicate balance between the sanctity of every individual, the recognition of the limitations of the masses and the qualities of gifted individuals. And it concludes that although we are all challenged by our own narcissism and therefore have a need for enlightened leadership, we still must fulfill our destiny to make the world a better place – for this is the purpose for which we were created in the divine image, the greatest lineage of all.