Balaam advised Balak to entice the Jewish people into the sin. Balak had Midianite and Moabite women seduce the Jewish men and then entice them into idol worship. G‑d unleashed a fatal epidemic against the Jewish people. Moses brought the offenders to trial, but Zimri, prince of the tribe of Simeon, challenged Moses, consorting publicly with the Midianite princess Kozbi. Aaron’s grandson Pinchas remembered that such offenders may be executed without trial, and slew Zimri and Kozbi. Pinchas then prayed to G‑d and G‑d halted the epidemic. Since Pinchas had been born before Aaron and his sons were made priests, he had not been eligible for the priesthood. As a reward for his zealousness, G‑d installed Pinchas into the priesthood.
Avoiding False Modesty
הִנְנִי נֹתֵן לוֹ . . . בְּרִית כְּהֻנַּת עוֹלָם וגו': (במדבר כה:יב–יג)
[G‑d said regarding Pinchas,] “I hereby give him . . . the eternal covenant of priesthood.” Numbers 25:12-13

The fact that Pinchas was much younger than Moses did not prevent him from acting in his presence, once it became clear that Moses had forgotten what needed to be done. Similarly, we should not be intimidated when we see that those of greater stature are not righting some wrong that must be addressed. It could well be, as in the case of Pinchas, that Divine providence is keeping them silent in order that a “less qualified” individual seize the moment and answer destiny’s call to greatness. When Divine providence presents us with an opportunity to right some wrong in the world, we must pursue it with total self-sacrifice, as did Pinchas.1