Sunday, March 10, 2013

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The Class Is Based On The Article Of The Week:

Parashas Pekudei

The Secret Tribe

Rabbi David Katz

In Parashas Pekudei one of the most recognized facets of the Temple operation is described in some detail, an article that captures the mind and imagination in a somewhat deeper sense than most other aspects of the Priestly service; this is none other than Breastplate.  Specifically it is the names of the Twelve Tribes that undergo mystical illumination upon their inherent precious gemstones in the time that the High Priest seeks out Divine Wisdom during urgent times in the days of which the Temple stands erect. When one delves into the Haftorah, he will be embraced with references to David and Solomon, which when we combine the sacred Kings of Israel with the Breastplate of the High Priest and the Tribes, a deeper appreciation of the Ger, the Jew, and their relationship comes into a much deeper light, one that will certainly illuminate the World!

When we look to the Prophet Ezekiel, and his famous prophecy of the “wood of Judah and Joseph forging to become One in the hand of God,” one can’t help but consider the unity that not envelops Judah and Joseph in the normative sense, but also in the Universal sense. The Gerim and Yehudim, who are occupied by Joseph and Judah, are the gatherers and unifiers respectively, and interestingly they also present a reality of the unity in the Hand of God. Once it is established that there is an eternal bond of two peoples, it is only appropriate to turn one’s attention to David vis a vis the Breastplate as the Parsha and Haftorah would have it, and more importantly discover the tapestry of the Judah – “Joseph” bond, i.e. Judah and everybody else.

In the laws of the Rambam concerning the Breastplate and the nature of the Tribes’ engraved names upon their respective gemstones, the Rambam provides a revelation that one privy to sensitive matters of Holiness in the Torah’s subtle districts may find as an “additional gem” – Joseph with a “Heh.” The delivery of his special and secret restoration of this missing Hebrew letter “Heh” that was mysteriously added to his name, is traced in its original revelation, as inscribed by the hand of none other than King David himself!
In King David’s Tehilim, David captures the moment with the only reference in the entire Tanach as Joseph in his Holiest form as Yehosef [Joseph + Heh = Jehoseph]. It is King David, a Judah-ite who took the liberty to be the only man in the Torah to properly define Joseph as per the terms of his merit as having sanctified God in private with Potifer’s wife, thereby meriting a Holy Name that contains an explicit reference to the King of Kings Himself. If we are to look at this exchange as the microcosm of something much greater within the progression of time, it only makes sense that the Tribe of Judah [of which was largely created so as to reach and gain the influence of David] will be the standard in terms of definition, not only throughout Jewish History, but in the Redemption of the Ger as well, fulfilling the potential of the ultimate emanations of the Judah – Joseph dynamic.

In the times that would take place in or around of the miracle of Purim, the Children of Israel would assume the distinction of Yehudim, Jews, Yehudi, or as the Talmud will report them – Yehuda-een. The Commentator Tosfos in Talmud Megilah points out that as the Talmud clarifies the reason for this paradigm shift in Jewish vernacular was due to the Judah-identified trait that all “Jews” [in the story of Daniel possessed] share in common, is that they deny/reject idolatry. The Tosfos additionally states that the other players of the Daniel story were not of the Tribe of Judah, yet also rejected idolatry, and ultimately the verse in the Tanach clearly unifies them all [a Judah trait in its own right] as “Yehuda-een”, i.e. “Jews.”
Once there is precedent of the nature of Judah and his relationship to rejecting idolatry, “other tribes”, a Judah –Joseph dynamic, etc., one unique thread will emerge that contains the essence of the Judah – Joseph / Ger – Jewish relationship in the context of what it is for all to be “Jewish” [in these terms] and to identify a difference between Jewish and Judaism. 

What we will find is really none other than that which we all seek and that which the Parsha and its Haftorah state openly, i.e. David’s Kingdom. This is the ultimate revelation of the Messiah, his Kingdom, and therefore [as dictated by going as far back as Shem and his Messianic meeting with Abraham] must in every way include the quintessential Ger who comes to life in these terms, not only as a rejecter of idolatry, but the component that formulates a dynamic duo in the study of Torah with the Jew, such that both are left with sublime knowledge of God, under a common umbrella that is initiated by the concept of David within pretext of “Judah” [thus Juh(d)-ish as opposed to Jewdaism].

In the discussion of a Ger Toshav [who hybrids as a Ger Tzedek on even the faintest level] who is fit to learn Torah [presumably Torat Moshe without the boxing gloves] the Bible Commentator Even Ezra suggests that the Ger Toshav has every right to receive Torah, if for no other reason than to [please pardon the expression on the ears]: “Judah-ize” – granted it loses its effect once brought into the realm of English. Yet the even Ezra wishes to make a point, that when we link all of the Judah program under one roof and give it to the Ger, we are essentially saying, he is defined, unified, anti-avodah zara-ized, David-ized, connected to the core of Israel [for practical reasons  in physical and spiritual realms], etc. What we see is that not only is the prophecy of Ezekiel fulfilled, but a divine mission is then launched between the Ger and the Jew such that only then can David’s dream be reached of the ultimate Geulah that the Ger holds several of the main portfolios to, namely the mystery of the “Ger Tzedek.”

The Jews shall remain within a religious flavor of Judaism, and they now eternally exist as Jews proper. The Gerim are coming to unite, bond, contribute, grow, and ultimately fulfill their destiny in knowing Hashem, which is the sole desire of Man and in the best way that Hashem designed the vessel for all. An irony in these matters is that the tribesmen, who were not of Judah, became of Judah, although not of his Tribe in realistic terms. I can’t help but find it ironic, that as we say the Torah is written in the language of Man, is there a better proof than by expressing to the Ger that he becomes attached to Judah although he is not of the tribe?! Silly it may be, but in modern slang this is how it is expressed, and perhaps Hashem shows there may be more meaning to all “isms” than meets the eye!

The Ger is commanded against having a religion, and there are parts of his soul that is uniquely his and his alone, yet the bond with Israel will and must take context within Judah. This was a distinction not only for the Ger, but for all of Israel. As the Parsha points out, and more importantly, the Haftorah, this story is about David ben Judah. When we realize that in the David / Judah prophecies or in positions of power within word or concept that relate to these dynamics as well, one must remember the Ger and to find oneself in full placement in proximity of the Ger. As it has been pointed out that all beginnings came from the Ancient Gerim such as Shem and the Avot, and that the legacy continued to the Nation of Israel pre-Sinai and onwards to the Toldos Noach who would eternally endeavor to guard the Shabbat and such, it is the ultimate restoration of the Ger that the Lord seeks.
As the First Temple was filled with Gerim, all of history knew the Ger; today the Ger is returning with all his heart and soul, and seeks to behold David in the Temple, this time a Messianic fulfillment that the Torah has demanded from day one. My how things have changed in a hurry, yet not without a sense of irony: as today’s true Yehudah-een as per the defined terms of Even Ezra, Tosfos, and the Talmud, are left without any such name or distinction.  

Perhaps when the Light will shine bright to the Nations, the Jewish People will behold how awesome the Tribe of Judah is, along with all of his “friends” as witnessed by Ezekiel; maybe then David can finally receive The Temple Mount from Aravnah the Ger, rather than playing with Hamas; maybe the Ger will show the Jew how to be a Jew [per force as an extension of Judah], if the Jew would just for once show the Ger, not how to be a Ger, but to simply acknowledge that he is one, for a change. After all, let us not forget, that the tribe of Judah is defined by the Ger: whether it be Shem, Ruth, or Kaleb, the Davidic Kingdom exists from the Ger; and just as David did not forget the Heh from Joseph, let this serve as a reminder for all of those Josephs through time, that sanctified Hashem in secret as well, the humble servant of God, the Ger; he who is so humble, Judaism must ironically ask of his name.

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Anonymous said...

A great article Rabbi! Shamah Astirah...(Bebe Tracy)

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