Friday, April 26, 2013

Gerim and The House of Prayer At Sinai

 Parashas Emor
 Sechel Is a Ger In This World
 Rabbi David Katz

Parashas Emor is literally ground breaking in the realm of exciting and even Messianic Torah that highlights the richest flavor of the World of Gerim. Inside we find many enlightening topics such as the heavily prophesied Third Temple, nature of conversion, giving gifts to the Ger, and much much more. To choose one topic over another would literally be highway robbery as each of these topics rightly deserve ample airtime; with that said the scope of this article will break protocol and classic form, in attempt to illuminate in a terse style the essence of each fascinating topic relating to the World of Gerim. The goal in mind is that this should satisfactorily outline each revelation, and provide a proper foundation that can be expounded upon in the audio accompaniment that is issued with each written article employing the subject of Gerim / Noahides in Torah.

The first highlight in the Parsha that really resonates with essential Ger Torah is the law that the Torah enforces concerning the daughter of the priest who endures illicit behavior. The Torah recognizes her behavior as falling under extreme punishment and as such she is to be burned alive at the stake. What would certainly seem as extreme in nature the Torah has divine logic in carrying out punishment in such matters; interestingly enough in all of the inherent intensity of this command is buried in the heart of the Ger.

The Torah’s first and quintessential Priest was one who can be seen as a father of sorts of the Gerim, and this is none other than Shem the son of Noah, also known as Malki Tzedek, he who was a priest to God above.  Shem had five sons, including a firstborn son and there is not to leave out his daughter Tamar, who would embody the concept of the “Daughter of the Priest.”

Shem’s son would go on to bring out this illustrious lineage [of priestly and kingly nature] through such nobleman as Ever [of whom he would engage his Yeshiva with] and even onwards towards Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sons [i.e. Judah for example, one of the Twelve Tribes].

Running parallel to this framework was Tamar his daughter who married two [and was promised a third] sons of Judah, who both died in perversion of wasting their seed so as to avoid placing pregnancy upon Tamar and her deep beauty. Before Judah’s third son could be given privilege of Tamar through Levirate Marriage, Tamar took matters into her own hands and seduced Judah, the Tribe’s patron, through perceived harlotry. Judah succumbed to Tamar’s plot, she conceived, Judah was unaware of their actions from lack of intent, and suddenly his daughter in law was being found of harlotry – punishable by burning at the cross, for her father was Shem.

The story does have a happy  ending however, as Judah repented due to Tamar’s scheme at seeking repair to the fruit of her womb, and they bore together twins who would resurrect the souls of their dead brothers who came before them. “Zerech and Peretz” would go on to find the Messianic Kingdom, and Shem’s mission [as a priest that produced the incentive of Tamar] was a success of imparting the Priesthood into the new creation of Israel. Tamar was able to achieve all that she set out to do, and she is ironically identified by her association with Emor’s intense statute of the illicit daughter of the priest who is burned from corruption. However that’s where the stories differ; Tamar was perfectly righteous and in accordance with her father who happened to father Gerim, as opposed to Emor’s daughter of the priest who in under a wicked influence.

The next three topics revolving around the Ger are in relation to the Holy Temple, found on the site that was originally designated as the Place of God by Shem who was a Priest to God Above, Zion. The three specific Ger categories are: the Zar [stranger; slightly different in connotation from Ger, as in Avodah ZAR-ah], the Temple Offerings by the non-Jew, and the Temple of Messiah – Ezekial’s Temple that is destined to come to Earth built and from the Hands of Heaven.

In Israel there are three main distinctions that classify the Israelite Nation: Priest, Levite, and Israelite. The Hebrew letter shin that carries three “heads” portrayed by the letter “vav” – three times joined by a point depicted by the letter “yud” demonstrates a viable map of Israel under these terms. However unique to the letter Shin as the mysterious four-headed shin that symbolizes the Gerim who join with Israel. In Temple terms anyone who is not a Priest, ironically is called “zar” – strange or foreign.

The novelty of this item is that under these terms even a Levite [and all the more so every non-priest] is called a stranger/foreigner in regards to the Temple. Often in Torah law, text will come to permit a zar to perform priestly tasks when the occasion calls for such intervention. Our Parsha, Emor is one of the locations where a Zar is called to duty in the performance of particular offerings. Yet Emor even goes a step further in relation to various other verses, and that there are even times when  the non-Jew [associated with idolater] is allowed to offer to Hashem in the Temple, to which the commentaries realize, “then even all the more so a Ger!” Thus future potential Gerim and the Gerim themselves have a function in the Temple, and embody the makeup of the powerful illumination that graces a Man’s head tefilin, the counterpart to the regular Shin [that stands for God’s Name] , the mystical four-headed Shin that alludes to future status’ of Gerim amongst Israel.

The Temple of which is spoken here has been any of the previous forms of worship of Hashem, while there is yet another unknown level of revelation – God’s Third and final temple.

The Parsha speaks about the holiday season from Passover to Shavuot symbolized by the waiving ceremony of barley [the Omer] in the Temple, followed by a Meal Offering that ushers in Shavuot proper. However the Talmud takes issue with this concept in the midst of the current exile [of which we are devoid of the Temple and God’s Presence], and explains the ceremony under the rabbinic code of which there is no Temple. This begs the obvious question amongst the Rabbis as to what is the nature of the law change when the Holy Temple will be built by the sons of Shem on Zion. The Talmud explained by Rashi offers a brilliant answer, one that stands eternal until the moment we receive revelation of the End.

Rashi says the Third Temple, Ezekiel’s Temple is prophesied to descend from the Hands of Heaven at the time Passover’s first night of Yom Tov exits into Chol Moed [intermediary days of service]. This Temple is built by God Above, and descends completely built and functional, miraculously, and is sacred beyond destruction. Once this condition comes to be, it is called a House of Prayer, one of which the Gerim will be present in standing as One with Israel as prophesied by Isaiah, in the sanctification of God having created the World under the account of Shabbos lore. This Third Temple [that is built in the image below by the hands of Messiah and Shem as the Righteous Priest] represents the repair of schism between Gerim and Jews and is the unity expressed in the World before God forever.

The final revelation of the Ger in the Parsha worth noting is that of the blasphemer who is born of a Jewish Mother and an Egyptian father and the nature of his status in Israel in regards to the nature of his sin in relation to Noahide Laws of divine rebellion.

The Torah gives account a youth born of a Jewish mother and an Egyptian father, [the one that Moses killed] who went out speaking ill of the Divine. After the Torah delves into the matter briefly, Hashem declares the boy worthy of death penalty for blaspheme, a din that carries weight for the entire World. The Talmud Sanhedrin takes up this matter [amidst the Noahide Laws] and renders that for all intents and purposes the Ger and Jew share the same severity for blaspheme, and the death penalty in evoked. The law in uniquely rendered by the Torah verse that seems to suggest both the Ger and Jewish points of view should be taken into account, and the Ramban explains exactly why.

Rashi goes on record as saying that this youth “converted” which seems superfluous being that his mother is Jewish while only his father is foreign, thus no need to convert. The Ramban then takes liberty in showing the nature of conversion in the negative – as per Sinai.
At Sinai all Jews underwent proper conversion, as Sinai was the biggest mass conversion in the history of the World, designed by God since the days of Abraham and Shem had conspired to achieve the Sinai Revelation upon their fateful meeting at Zion. Thus the youth converted as everyone else, but the revelation is that he chose to go after his mother and forsook his father, clinging to his mother and is a standard Jew by law and without any lesser quality of a Sinai experience.
The point to notice here is that Rashi says he converted, and therefore every usage of conversion is derived from “Ger”, leaving us to analyze if this was a Ger convert or Ger Gentile. Since we are shown that he actually converted in face of the idea that perhaps he was a Ger [which is aligned with the fact the law rendered from this applies particularly to the Gerim], we are now in position to see the difference between types of Ger process.

The Ger undergoes a shortened process than that of the convert, with the ramifications being that of the status is now either Jewish or non-Jewish. From this youth and the commentary it is illuminated that a convert is someone who literally binds his soul/nefesh withIN the Jewish People, whereas the Ger is bound with Israel, either as a one off [Ger Tzedek Vadai] or as a gradual entrance to Israel [Ger Tzedek] as opposed to the convert [Ger Gamur].

The Torah shows the Ger how he is able to tangle his soul in realistic terms with greater or lesser intensity in a realistic fashion that decides the fate of the person for the remainder of his years and eternal spiritual implications. Neither can go back to idolatry as it once was, yet one is an entirely new creation [and Jewish] as opposed to renewed [and a Ger]. The subject and frequency in the Torah of each mention of Ger outlines the new spiritual path for both, aided by the ways of the Ancient, i.e. Pre Sinai, and the tradition from Adam to Noah that was perfected and implemented into “Israel” [Abraham] by Shem [and Ever academies of learning].  

Thus we see Parashas Emor truly is the threshold before Sinai, as Parashas Behar will actually begin with the greetings from Sinai. The Mission of the Torah is clearly expressed in Emor through the lens of the Ger, one that depicts precedence within the Temple, permanent presence of all Gerim, and how the ultimate expression of Israel will appear before God, one that includes Jews and non-Jews, working in harmony under One common Torah in the World [which the Parsha calls “Mishpat Echad” - one law (where common)].

How ironic it is, that Sinai can be defined as the build-up of Gerim that composes reality, while today there should be greater focus on the portion of Torah that emphasizes “for you too were Gerim in a Land not of your own” [in face of the protection and Love of Gerim commands throughout the Torah]; how easily we have seemed to have forgotten, and sadly, it comes at the expense of Sinai. Yet Sinai forever shall stand as the Kindness Hashem endures for His creation(s), and what better kindness has Hashem been involved with [and invested in] since Sinai, than his preservation and love for the Gerim –who as the fourth head of the Shin, take a stand in aiding Hashem in delivering redemption.

Some might take the [redemptive] gifts of Emor for granted much like Sinai, [like the corners of the field that are preserved for the Gerim], but rest assured, the Ger sees Parashas Emor as not only his birthright, but as a destiny, and date with reality. In times where all other pulses have run dry, the Ger rages on like a return to Glory Jordan River, only this time, they will bring Moses in, even if by his payot [side curls] symbolic of Hashem’s abundant Kindness that clings to the Ger in Parashas Emor.

Don't Forget Audio Shiur - Parasha Motzie Shabbat  10 P.M.
                                           Wed 11 P.M. Torat Gerim / Noahide


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