The Torah portion of Pinchas begins with G‑d saying to Moshe:1 “Pinchas… has turned My wrath away from the Jewish people by displaying anger among them on My behalf.”

Pinchas’ conduct involved self-sacrifice, for his deed aroused the wrath of the tribe of Shimon, whose members sought to kill him.2

After the Torah concludes the tale of Pinchas, it speaks about the division of Eretz Yisrael and the appointment of Yehoshua to lead the Jewish people into the Promised Land. The portion concludes with a section on offerings, a number of which could be brought only when the Jews were in Eretz Yisrael.3

Since all the above is part of the portion titled Pinchas, it follows that the entrance to Eretz Yisrael and all related matters are somehow connected to the spiritual service of Pinchas.

What is the connection?

Our Rabbis tell us4 that, were it not for the iniquities of the Jews, their first entry into Eretz Yisrael would have triggered the Redemption. Although this did not actually take place, in some respects the first entry resembled the future Redemption.

This similarity helps us understand the relationship between Pinchas and the entry into Eretz Yisrael, for our Sages state:5 “Pinchas is Eliyahu,” and Eliyahu is the one who will bring the tidings of Redemption.

The novel aspect of the future Redemption lies in the fact that at that time, G‑dliness will be fully revealed.6 Nowadays, G‑dliness is clothed in the material world, and manifest only in a contracted manner. In times to come, however, a greater level of Divine illumination will be found within this world — a level not subject to contraction or limitation.

Man was created after the fashion of Above.7 Just as there are essential and concealed levels of G‑dliness, so too, man is a composite of the essential aspect of his soul and its revealed (and limited) levels. In order for man to draw down the essence of G‑dliness, it is necessary for him to draw on his soul’s essence, which transcends the limited and revealed levels.

Thus, our Sages inform us8 that repentance is a prerequisite for redemption. This is so, not only because repentance eradicates previous sins, but also because it stems from the soul’s essence,9 for which reason redemption must be prefaced by repentance.

Another aspect of spiritual service that emanates from the soul’s essence is mesirus nefesh, self-sacrifice, wherein a person is ready to serve G‑d beyond the limitations of his rational faculties.

This is why this quality is prevalent to a greater degree in the generations just before Moshiach’s coming. For realizing the soul’s essence is a necessary preparation to the realization of the G‑dly essence in Messianic times.

There are two levels of mesirus nefesh :

a) Mesirus nefesh limited to the strict letter of the law — if the Torah commands mesirus nefesh, he will do so; if not, he won’t.

b) The essential aspect of mesirus nefesh, wherein a person is ready to give his life without any intellectual considerations.

It was this latter type of mesirus nefesh that was displayed by Pinchas, inasmuch as his act of self-sacrifice was not obligatory.10 Herein lies the connection between Pinchas and the entrance of the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael — a precursor to redemption, which comes about through the essential service of mesirus nefesh, revealing as it does the essence of G‑dliness that will be manifest in the times of Moshiach.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, pp. 1070-1073