Friday, April 5, 2013

The Ger Who Serves On High

  Parashas Shemini
  The Ger, The Priest: Servicing God Above
  Rabbi David Katz

Parashas Shemini is a Parsha that has perhaps the richest wealth of Allegorical depth in the entire Torah. Whether one wishes to trek the Pinchas - Elijah trail and the ultimate excursion that makes it possible, otherwise known as Nadav and Avihu [as they were the spiritual juice that flavored Pinchas’ fire, and later the passion of Elijah], or the comparisons to the pig and its Edomite counterpart that looks Kosher on the outside yet whose inside is fatally deceptive [interesting to note that the word for “chewing cud” is a derivative of “Ger” in its letters, expressing that the Ger is wholly holy], to which the Ohr Chaim states in the future the pig will return [from a suppressed state] to chew its cud. Again, this has endless allegorical implications. The connections in the Parsha are vast, but the one that may strike the hardest, is Aaron who learns Torah from the Mind of God, as Moses finds himself struggling to grasp the Torah’s intent. Both are Priests, and both could be said to be the perfect mirror of the Jew and the Ger.

The Talmud Bava Kama 38a has one location [of several in the Oral Torah] that explicitly says, “A Non-Jew [Nachri, idolater] who is occupied [connotation of a high level of investigation in Torah] in [his] Torah is compared to a High Priest, by the common Hebrew word used for this very spectrum of Man, “אדם.”

There are several key issues here that are quite intriguing and worth noting and elaborating. The Talmud calls him a Nachri, which is often viewed as an idolater. The Prophet Isaiah speaks about a similar character [also called Nachri by the prophet] who has the ability to begin to observe Shabbat as a day to express that Hashem created the World as such. The Nachri [who apparently is striving to shed the idolatry and enter under the wings of the Shechinah at some point] is prophesied to stand erect in the Holy Temple under the suspension of schism before the Lord. The Torah commands a distant relationship with the Nachri – so is he that we should relate to him and that he should learn Torah to its conclusion of being compared to the High Priest?!

The Ger Toshav [resident stranger] carries with it a connotation of a two-fold definition. Whether we stress GER toshav or conversely ger TOSHAV both will explain the two paths of the righteous gentile.

A ger TOSHAV is quite literally a stranger dwelling in the Land [presumably not permanent or not from a point of complete interest] and his sole responsibility is to reject idolatry while retaining the need to eat non-kosher meat. He is Toshav to a more extent [by law] than his “ger” status, i.e. he has most likely not offered an Offering [Olah / Bird Offering] expressing a lack of desire to merge with Israel. In the Land [when there is Jubilee] he is a ger TOSHAV.
The Rosh Commentary says that this stage of ger although he has rejected idolatry his “world’ is still idolatrous in nature, simply because he is either yet too raw to have rejected idols outright with knowledge, or he lacks the ability to counteract those that orbit his world. The Rosh [and ultimately the Torah] wants him to be occupied with Torah beyond his denial of idolatry so that he should come to be a GER toshav, a follower of the Seven Laws of Noach.  The more he sheds the idolatry [the ger TOSHAV] and learns Torah, he is becoming “Adam” / Man  - likened to the High Priest, and when he is the Land, he is privileged to be in the company of the Holy and dedicated [to Tikkun Olam] to the GER toshav [Ger Toshav]. The Nachri / ger TOSHAV has a hybrid title based on his circumstance of where he is, spiritually and physically. The standard Ger Toshav [GER toshav] is completely different, he is not a Nachri, he is considered as part of Israel, and for that we praise the ger, the GER then how much the more so! [Temple, Priest, Torah, etc.]

The nature of this Talmudic revelation is nothing short of a Chiddush – grandiose revelation that is given by God to man, in the way of Wisdom as opposed to Prophecy. [Although there are those that say that even this wisdom can contain prophetic measure should the Holy One Blessed Be He grant it so, and the vessel has worked to an ability to purify the revelation as such. This is one example of Rebbe Akiva’s greatness when compared to Moses] It seems from our Parsha, the High Priest is not a stranger to the Chiddush – Revelation, as witnessed this week by Aaron and his exercise with Moses.
The Torah does not share a lot about Aaron’s greatness in learning to the extent of which we know about Moses’ prophecy. Yet Parashas Shemini clearly demonstrates that Aaron pulled down such a revelation of wisdom [a chiddush to the Torah, i.e. something that had not yet been revealed, even to Moses] that even Moses was caught off guard, even sinned in opposition of such a phenomenon.

Aaron had realized that of the special Offering he was able to perform as a mourner, and the standard “eating of the Offering” was suspended due to the fact that through his offering as a High Priest, he was not to carry out the command as one would commonly think. This is the first “chiddush” of this type we have seen through Aaron, Torah, etc. and Moses simply could not get his head around it in time. Some argue the nature of Moses’ “sin” whether it was from a mistake that led to anger, or “anger” that led to the mistake; for whatever happened Moses was “doresh doresh!” – he looked everywhere in haste to find out “what was going on!” In end Aaron explained and Moses hear, and admitted he had not heard this law – due praise to Aaron.

There is a famous concept that explains the nature of a true Chiddush / revelation in Torah, one that is clearly in motion between Moses and Aaron. It is said that to the extent of the mass of newly expressed Torah, coupled with the labor in harnessing the concept, the laborer [who is paid for his efforts] opens the gateway for others to walk and gain insight as a “free download” from Hashem; a type of Chesed – Kindness works from on High to Below. Here in the Parsha, Aaron did the work, and Moses, even with all of his Prophecy, was able to get the insight as a Kindness to the hard work of Aaron. Moses simply could not hear it, until Aaron hit the mark allowing it to be easily heard.

The same relationship can be said of the Jew and the Ger and a type of Moses and Aaron. The Ger, who functions like a High priest when he is in his element of learning Torah, has the ability to draw down revelation just like the archetype High priest, Aaron. Moses, who fashions as the Jew in the analogy, has the tools to grasp it, once it has been released to come down. This type of partnership is also seen in the Moshiach – Elijah relationship in teaching Torah in the End of Days.

From Moses and Aaron we can see the blemish and rectification to this principle in clear terms. The Ger must believe he is creating revelation, to not, is to deny his God given gift. The Jew must learn to truly listen, as Moses did once he corrected his off-color “mistakes.” Moses’ anger and the negativity of the Ger is antithetical to Torah, whereas a listening Moses and a thoughtful Ger, have the ability to garment both positions as the High Priest in conjunction with the Nation of Priests, standing shoulder to shoulder in not only the Temple of our World, but spiritually the Temple in every World. [The Zohar says that within Shem, the Priest of this World, were his angelic components “Michael etc.” who reached to under the throne of Glory above.]

The Ger is the chiddush. Whether it be Aaron as a High Priest, the Torah of the Ger, terminology of the Ger [Nachri, Ger, Goy, Toshav, Ger Tzedek, etc.] laws of the Temple, etc. even today we are drawing inspiration from the Ger. The Ger has been a part of Israel not since its inception, but they were those that conceived! Imagine how much more Torah could be expressed [even if for the first time] if there were Gerim who thought like Aaron [on a pure level] and Jews who acted like Moses [on an honest level]. Even simple folk today could embody Moses and Aaron on a certain level to draw down revelation of Messiah and Elijah, as this has been the stage since the days of Shem and Abraham.

The Torah will never be forgotten, that we are promised. But what they don’t tell you in school is how that preservation happens in realistic terms. The greatest simcha’s that may exist in Torah are those of when one expands his mind like Nadav and Avihu represent in Kabbalistic terms, and we are transformed from non-kosher beasts [of evil inclination] to something that may come to God by the hands of Michael, when we meet at the Gates of Righteousness, following a Holy Life’s expiration. All of the allegories [in Shemini] work exquisitely well, but perhaps none resonate as resounding as the Chiddush of the High Priest and the Zar [the non-Kohen; Moses a Priest, but to the same extent as Aaron such that it perpetuated in seed, etc.].

Tragedy is the sudden realization that Torah is lost and redemption [although noble] is futile. Aaron stands to attest for all of time, that the Torah [from high priesthood in particular] is always in sight and thus attainable from the pre-requisite labor, as Moses embodies the Torah chemistry that must always be in harmony, thus amenable to the truth, when it arrives to the World through a voice. Whether ones seeks the allegorical view or the observation point from the direction of Hashem, Shemini is destined for high end intelligence…whenever you put ingredients like that together, as Aaron demonstrates so clearly, expect to find the Ger, under any circumstance.

Don''t Forget - Each Article is Accompanied by Audio Shiur
[for the best results, it is recommended that both are attended to]

Motzie Shabbos - Parsha Shavua - 10 P.M. Israel

Wed. 11 P.M. Israel Noahide / Ger Series

see you all then!


Joe said...

Shavua Tov Rav Katz and what a chiddush it was !!!!

In reading these incredible insights that you revealed my thoughts pondered on “Doresh, Doresh – Moshe inquired, he inquired.” Why the repetition ?
I have always viewed the Torah as a 5 stem Menorah. Genesis and Exodus to the left with Numbers and Deuteronomy to the right. This leaves Leviticus as the central shaft of the Torah. If one were to number all the verses of Torah, then “Doresh Doresh” Lev 11v16 is the exact midpoint of the Torah……..hence, the unusual doubling of words. So it would seem that Moshe should inquire and inquire about this verse that literally lights up the entire Torah.

So what were Aharon and Moshe at loggerheads on ? What caused the anger of Moshe to manifest?

It is interesting to note that three he-goats and or their consumption as offerings were at the centre of the dispute. The he-goats were (1) The offering for Nachshon, the Nasi of the tribe of Yehudah (2) Offering for Rosh Chodesh – New Moon and (3) The inauguration of the Mishkan.

I see these he-goats as having significant Messianic overtures :
(1) Nachshon ben Aminadav, who was the first to dive head first into the Sea of Reeds, would within 5 generations be the progenitor of David ha Melech from whose seed the Mashiach would arise.
(2) The Rosh Chodesh is symbolic of Mashiach who, like the new moon, is initially present but not visible will eventually shine forth at the full moon reflecting the full glory of HaShem.
(3) “Build me a Mishkan so that I, HaShem may dwell in THEIR midst.” The purpose of Mashiach is to bring the full knowledge and the Oneness of HaShem and His Name thus enabling HaShem to dwell in our midst.

It is also interesting that Moshe acted as Kohen during the seven day process of the Mishkan erection and Aharon officiated as Kohen on the eighth day inauguration. Whilst Moshe through prophecy symbolizes the written Torah of foundation and mitzvot of the natural cycle, Aharon through Chakhmah reveals the oral Torah of the mystical supernatural hidden “sod.”

Aharon revealed it and Moshe initially failed to hear and grasp it. Hence, Moshe’s anger……but to Moshe’s credit he admitted his mis-perception and then he “heard” it after “Doresh Doresh.”

The underlying lesson, if I may suggest, is that the natural cycle from the Jewish perspective of Torah is first rooted in stringently performing the halachot of the mitzvot to the nth degree without the arrival of Mashiach (contrary to what the teachings of the Rabbanim declare) When, however, the chackmah from the heart of the Priest (Shem / Melchitzedek) comes supernaturally from the hidden mystical “sod” of Atzilut, THEN, they will hear and grasp the Redemption. This Priest will come in the guise of Pinchas/Eliyahu restoring the HEARTS of the children to the Avot / Fathers………..the Avot as the recipients of HaShem’s Covenant.

So Sh’mini the 8th as in Brit Milah on the 8th seals the Covenant supernaturally and unconditionally. Doresh…….Doresh ………all the way.

Shavua Tov

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