What does the name פינחס mean? The Abarbanel, interestingly enough, writes that the name פינחס is an Egyptian name that is derived from the city in Egypt called תַחְפַּנְחֵס (See Yirmiyah 2:16). However, we still do not know the definition of פינחס. Let’s take a look at the letters of his name and we can get a deeper understanding why he received this name. The letter פ denotes a פה, a mouth. Pinchas, we learn from Dovid Hamelech, used his mouth to defend the Jewish people. It is said (Tehillim 106:30) וַיַּעֲמֹד פִּינְחָס וַיְפַלֵּל וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה, and Pinchas arose and executed judgement, and the plague was halted. While the literal translation of the word וַיְפַלֵּל here is judgement, the root word פַלֵּל connotes prayer. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 82b) states that Pinchas took Zimri and Kazbi and slammed them down on the ground, declaring, “because of these two sinners the Jewish People should lose twenty-four thousand people?!’ Although the Gemara states that Pinchas was litigating with his Creator, he was clearly praying that HaShem stop the plague.
The letter י, which equals 10, symbolizes perfection, and when adding 10 to the letter פ, which is 80, we have 90, the gematria of the word מלאך, angel (91), as Pinchas was transformed into Eliyahu, who was like an angel (See Rashi Bava Metzia 114b) Similarly, the letter נ symbolizes the fifty gates of understanding, and Pinches, who was transformed into Eliyahu, was like an angel and reached perfection. The letter ח hints to the eight days of Milah, and we have a tradition that Eliyahu (formerly Pinchas) attends every Bris Milah of a Jewish child. The letter ס, which equals 60, corresponds to the 60 words that are found in Bircas Kohanim, the Priestly Blessings, and Pinchas was a Kohen.
We see from all this that Pinchas wasn’t just any name. rather, his name signified mission in life, which he achieved in its entirety.
We should all merit to fulfill our mission in life.
Have a purpose-filled Shabbos!