Friday, April 12, 2013

The Naaman Program

Parashas Tazria and Metzora
Adam’s Map: Finding Naaman
Rabbi David Katz

In last week’s Parasha we investigated the Talmudic passage of the Non-Jew [Bava Kama] who is occupied in Torah and thus becomes likened to the High Priest, based on his inherent inclusion within the realm of “Adam” / “Man” while leaving behind the ungodly status [of non-Adam] that idolatry places upon him and his enslaved soul. Once the heart is open for repentance, and begins to foster existential thoughts as to the true nature of reality, God, Wisdom, etc. he is considered to be no more of the idolaters, and has released his soul [or opened it to] into a realm of Holiness where he may escape his former ways. What was for him a life and familiarity of impurity that was used for self-gratification and grandeur [i.e. false religion – דת שקר], now becomes converted to him as an impurity of self, a natural bi-product for simply being “Adam.”

This brings us to the simple meaning of our two Parshiot before us that deal with levels of impurity. One might think that the opposite is true, where the idolater is the impure one and he of holiness is the pure one; The Torah comes to teach that the idolater is impure in his root, and bares no consequence as per the Torah, and it is his “world” that is impure, and wrongly justified [going against Torah] with false religious beliefs that feed off of this non-Torah impurity.

Once one has begun to repented by at least opening the door for its possibility, the impurity transitions on a ratio scale into normative Torah impurity, the person is developing his state of Adam, and the further his repentance develops, the more Torah-related he will become, thus causing him to become susceptible to Torah impurities from his innate impurity level, that now exists in holiness [although it is still based on the ratio of the status of his soul’s conversion, i.e. state of having been brought out of the former impurity].

In line with this scale of thinking, we could say that the idolater is 100% impure of the non-Torah distinction. However as he relates to Adam / Man within himself, say he is 10% within Torah, then he would have a 90% hold of impurity in false religious idolatry and a 10% share of Torah impurity. At this point his World is still impure on a Jewish standard [for example how a Jew would be able to interact on a social - ”wine” scale: to drink with him or not drink with him] yet he will exhibit and even begin to manifest Torah reality [i.e. perhaps an impurity of the Torah sense, “Metzora, Tzaraas “ as Naaman: Kings 1:5:1] and the Jew must be aware of this state of “Adam” that is now apparent. One practical example would be for a Jewish Priest of whom it is forbidden to become impure; he may now not be able to walk into a cemetery where this “Adam” [now dead, and thus promotes his impurity through the grave, as is the manner of Torah impurity] now emits his impurity that would pose as problematic for a potentially serving Priest of God’s temple.

This format would grow until ultimately the person reaches one of three states of being: Ger Tzedek [a Ger whose intent is to become absorbed into the Jewish people after x-amount of generations, at this time not through conversion, but organically], Ger Tzedek Vadai [one who wishes the status of Ger Tzedek, but only himself, and not through legacy], or outright conversion, a Ger Emet, or Ger Gamor [truthful/complete – finished]. This would constitute the upper arena of impurity of the Torah sense, and the Jew must be mindful of this Adam, as he is now included in discussions of this type, i.e. the Torah of the Book of Vayikra, states of Priesthood, etc., after all, the Non-Jew who is occupied in Torah is compared to a High Priest! [The Mahrshah Commentary states that his priestly association is real for him as he learns about the Offerings and one can imagine [now as “Adam” proper – states (in learning) of impurity, which are priestly in concept.]

The awakening of the Non-Jew that takes place in idolatry is the revelation of Hashem that happens on a Torah plane emanating from Hashem Himself. This could be called a Jewish experience [such that it is so radical to the soul, one is shocked by the call of duty], one that rocks his world [that is impure], and leaves him standing before a wide-open door of repentance, ala Cain of the Cain and Able story [“sin awaits for you at the doorstep, but you can overcome it” – Hashem to Cain, in regards to Cain and his Offering that was unacceptable to Hashem].

After such an experience, the idolater would now become synonymous with the Oved Kochavim, an idolater [in the simple meaning] with undertones that he is now aware of reality [in a new Light]; a reality that was imposed upon him by God before and after the revelation. This is the vehicle that God desired to conceive of this Adam, and enter him into a Torah reality that is defined as a Jew-ish World, filled with Non-Jews and Jews. It subjects its inhabitants with [converted] levels of impurity that stand to help define a World created by God [thus included in the Heart of the Torah, Vayikra, the Book of Priests] while rejecting a false world that has a more obvious impurity, one that is blemished in the root, and would simply be an enemy to God [the Other Side] one of which that poses no direct contamination.

Naaman [Kings 1:5:1] was such an example of an afflicted idolater who became Adam by the grace of God, meriting to be the benchmark [of Torah] for all who would come to return to God, both Jew and Gentile. Naaman became a Ger Toshav, repented, and merged into a Jewish World by having a revelation of the Truth, one that was ordained by God Himself. This left Naaman to begin a quest to figure out, why could such a [non-Jewish] person have such a Jewish experience. Naaman would serve as the quintessential example of Jews and Non-Jews, impurity and purity, coming to learn Torah, interaction between people’s, etc. In simple terms, Naaman has delivered to us in one Chapter of the Tanach – the essence of the Torah, at least on a 1/70 Faces of Torah framework. When one thinks into Naaman, the map of reality [and Torah] can be clearly examined, as revelation of Adam that actually goes back to the original Adam!]

The story of Naaman is simple: he was an idolater, who became afflicted with a Jewish malady – miraculously. He had a Jewish experience [and all of the obvious Jewish issues went through his mind, “am I Jewish”, “Why me” etc.], that led him to seek Jewish wisdom, prophets, etc. He was healed by God, now possessed his “return to God story” [most repentants do] and ultimately figured out his calling [for the time being] as a proper Ger Toshav. Today the Ger Toshav is benchmarked [in Jewish Law] by Naaman, and his story in the Tanach, and serves as the example for all who return to Torah by having been aroused by God. What should strike as of the upmost importance with Naaman, is that he became impure with Tzaras/Metzora [exactly as in our Parsha]; this shows that effect of transition from idolater to servant is at least relevant if not entirely based on the conversion rate of impurity, from a non-Jewish World that opens into a Jewish – Torah environment, where the impurity takes on a new meaning, and even becomes subject to revelation!

The components of Naaman’s story that bare revelation [impurity, characters of the story] serve the student as allegorical manifestation in their own God-awakening.  This shows how God interacts with us personally, through Jewish Mazal, as a form of communication through wisdom enclothed in reality; making life a Divine Story, i.e. a Torah in real time. [Torah is a blueprint of the universe]

Our Parasha, amidst the layers of complexity, lays witness to the realm of the Naaman’s of the World – all seven Billion of them who stand on Earth today, and even those who have stood here for all of time. Just as the Parsha speaks in the simple meaning about spiritual malady, we can easily relate it back to Naaman and the Ger Toshav. It is there that Parsha explodes by means of association in context of the Ger, Non-Jew, who is on a personal journey placed by the hands of God.

Throughout the Parsha, there are undertones of the two bird Offerings that hint to the Ger and his association with the Jewish people. The crimson thread that is present in these Ger/impurity moments, such as Rachav and her marriage with Joshua and Tamar with her twins from Judah. [Along with the obvious Red Heifer] The Torah defilement “Zav” [impure flow from the parts of the body] – that is an impurity equivalent that functions in Jewish / Non-Jewish association, etc. [impurity is used in Torah as means of definition, that categorizes levels of being.

For example a dead Jewish body is called “father of impurity” and is the most severe, and thus requires Red Heifer. The non-Jews would have their equivalency as well, based on the degree of Adam that they have realized upon themselves. This impurity would recognize the reality of their spiritual state, would be weighed into a function of holiness where purity is an issue, and obviously serves as the biggest expression of the need to be included with the Red Heifer as well, which is the finishing touch of the repentance process by the Non-Jew who seeks now to stand before God in the Holy Temple.

This type of free association of the Ger and his Torah [i.e. his chiddushim (new revelations), drawing from last week’s Parsha] is called “K’Yotzie Bo” – to compare and include [in the discussion]. From this position, we can see in the Parsha through of the impurities and remedies offered, the Ger is perhaps the biggest undertone that explains the simple meaning from the entire Torah! As it was stated in context of Naaman, this could quite literally be an impetus of learning and containing that encompasses the entire Torah.

Thus for the Ger who learns Torah, and particularly learns Torah under a pretext of this passage, could easily have cause to learn the entire Torah, and it is for this Bava Kama has stated, a Non-Jew who is occupied with Torah is like a High Priest. Perhaps his good counsel is to learn as the High Priest, and this will yield [the seemingly forbidden realm of] occupation in Torah, of the absolutely permitted! The Torah never came to limit the Ger [and thus this would explain his path to reaching/realizing Adam], rather it was to put him on a specific path, one that officiates best for him to serve God, with the divine positioning coming from the Lord Himself.

The obvious intent for the Ger would then to be to find Life, choose Good, and to realize that he lacks nothing, but rather that his dreams are fulfilled by God. From his unique perspective of being a Non-Jew [a Jew of the negative; abstract Jew], the more he embraces his gifts, he receives his full portion, and the Torah need not change to accompany him; he has found a divine path of righteousness, one that has been blazed by few if any, making him all the more so meritorious and proven of a potential that eats the fruit of the entire highest Torah. The Ger, the Jew, and Torah are inseparable; thus if the powers of impurity unite us [albeit in the negative], then the power of the purifying Red Heifer is indeed the Messianic End that we all crave and prepare for. 
The longer the world denies the Ger it stalls in its eradication of impurity. It is safe to say that impurity amongst the Nations is higher than ever and generally that may mean trouble for Israel, but thank God for God – and his Naaman. At any time the world could conceive 7-billion Naaman’s overnight. With unprecedented impurity [by utter lack of Gerim through exile], the laws of the Red Heifer could boil over, false religion could fall to Dat Yisrael “דת ישראל” – Torah of Israel, and realistically the entire earth may have its Naaman moment at any moment.
The Torah says, “and in those days, the Earth will fill with knowledge of Hashem” – in such a scenario, these parshiot will be prime directive! Upon the building of the Second Temple, one that was undertaken by the Gerim, [all temples are built by sons of Shem] the Prophet Haggai tested the Priests with knowledge of impurity. In today’s Third Temple reality, perhaps not only will the priests be tested in impurity, but along with it will come the true knowledge of Adam [to the negation of impurity] and the return of a full priesthood – Jew and Ger, each discussing their Naaman moments as they discuss matters of Torah.
Adam can then finally relate to levels of association in Torah, for the sake of new revelation, while tossing duality’s map to the lions, as Adam HaEmes [the true Man] dwells on Earth enjoying eternal redemption and revelation of the Shechinah emanating from the Temple that both Men built, as sons of Shem. From where we all stand and no matter from we come from, the Torah has us all in mind; what may begin as a saga of subterranean impurity, is duty bound to extend itself to the Glory of God, a realizing a true Naaman, for both Jews and Gerim.

As Always: The Audio Shuir To The Parsha - Motzie Shabbat 10 P.M. Israel

And Every Wed 11 P.M. - Torah of the Ger Series [and mini series when appropriate]


Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful!! Thank you so much R' Katz; May Hashem continue to turn His countenance toward you and Bless you with everything.גרא בין התשבי

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