Friday, June 7, 2013

Korach Had No Clue, While Amalek Still Argues The Point

                                                                Parashas Korach
                                                       From Gifts alongside Gerim
                                                                Rabbi David Katz

Parahas Korach follows the Ger in Torah template to perfection, for the Parsha doesn’t only echo, but practically cries out its roots well into the Oral Torah. Where one person may see the story of Korach’s rebellion and baseless argumentation [machlokes – not in the sake of heaven; influence seen as Amalek in behavior, the evil Nation that is promised to be wiped out in the End of Days], the true beauty of the Parsha is the wealth of Oral Torah tradition in the peripheral of the Parsha, such that it is largely triggered by Torah of the Ger – at root level. 

Amidst the rebellion we are calmly confronted with new concepts such as, Priestly Gifts, possessions, inheritance, Land by Tribes, etc. such that from a few verses in the Parsha, triggers practically all of the Oral component called “Bava” [Tractate “damages”], and when seen from the Ger perspective [which is also rooted deep in the valleys of “Bava”; see Tosfos 111b and the Ger Tzedek], a whole new dimension to Oral Torah learning is illuminated before the eyes of the beholder. Just one tweak of recognizing the Ger in Parashas Korach, and Bava Metzia [and all of Bava; - Kama, Metzia, Basra (first, middle, and last gates)] all of a sudden becomes Parashas Korach in Technicolor, due to the precept – “the Torah is written in the language of the Ger.” [Zohar]

Upon first glance through the Parsha, one may be hard pressed to spot the Ger in the text, and the obvious option to resort to would be to make a Priestly connection, predicated on the dictum, “a Ger who learns Torah is compared to a High Priest.” Although this is correct, and will yield significant bounty, an undertone that registers throughout the Parsha is a topic/character that we will become quite familiar with over the next few weeks, one who is Messianic in nature and highly symbolic of Gerim in Torah [history]; this is none other than Pinchas the Priest, son of Aaron. It should send off bells and whistles just mentioning Aaron in context with Parashas Korach, pegged alongside the entire Priestly debate, and the table is set for a plunge into the deeper side of the Parsha.

Pinchas, who is a grandson of Aaron [who kicks the door in to become a Priest, as he was not grandfathered in as for having been born as a grandson at the time of Sinai, i.e. not a son of Aaron], highlights nearly all of the Bava [Talmudic] discussions in the Parsha, such as inheritance, possession, priestly gifts, Priests and “their Land” [which is traditionally not given to the tribe of Levi, as the Parsha specifically points out] etc., yet what separates Pinchas from the traditional Priestly lot, is not the possessions themselves, but how he came to possess in the first place!

If we think back to last week’s Parsha [which a theme of Bamidbar is the wonderful flow amongst its Parshiot in these matters; a true story immerges, reminiscent of Bereishit] and recall Joshua and Caleb, who had a different spirit than the rest of the spies, it is seen that they were successful in the Land largely, if not entirely, because they each embraced the Ger. Caleb was seen connecting to the Ger Tzedek in the Avot, while Joshua was mysteriously buried in Jericho which would become synonymous with him in his Torah legacy. It was there that the spies Pinchas and Caleb [ring a bell?] met up with a family of Righteous Gerim [and these two spies were sent by none other than Joshua], headed by the inn-keeper Rachav, who would later become Joshua’s wife, to which most never offer a second glance with the ramifications of such a union. This raises issue as to who was Rachav, what was her exact relationship with Joshua, and where/how/why/where/when does Pinchas fit into this [apparent and odd] love triangle.

The Talmud Megilah states that Joshua married Rachav, and it is clear that their relationship on some level began as a product of Joshua’s conquering Israel through Jericho as a “buchor” [a young Torah scholar, to which the Torah testifies to this distinction, as a student of Moses], through his efforts of dropping the bow and arrow bit, and fighting through Love and Peace as a Ger enthusiast, realizing that the World truly was desperate to hear about the Truth of God. This is a hint of what we learn from the Torah, in that vessels of war will become extinct in the End of Days [a time when most people would think that we need them the most!], and that there is an alternative method of perspective of the ancient Jewish warrior; from being a “quasi neo ninja” to a true Man of War [as King David], which the Kabbalah learns as being effective in the Oral Torah and prayer.

These concepts are easily seen as [in relation to the] Ger in every way, and as they are acute Ger attributes/components, one can easily see why David said, “I am a Ger.” An original template can be seen through Joshua, who was the elected one to carry the essence of Torah into Israel, as the buchor who most understood Moses’ final message [and essential philosophy and naturally Kabbalistic message of Torah] as the departing King of Jushuron [Israel]. [Joshua and Caleb were both said to have reached the spiritual and righteous level called “Kruvim” (Angelic); similar to the Kruvim who are stationed to guard the way of the Tree of Life by their fiery swords. Thus they were operating on a Tree of Life distinction as opposed to the Korach driven Tree of Knowledge.]

Joshua and Rachav wed at some point, and their offspring was said to have produced the finest Priests and Prophets in Israel’s History. Yet one function of their fertility was the lone ability to produce females, for males would be rendered spiritually impossible due to the circumstance of Joshua’s unique level he attained that hinted of angelic quality and caliber in soul root. As this is true in practical spiritual terms, it is also a product to the nature of their marriage in Torah Law, for Joshua differed from Caleb, in that Caleb pursued the path of the concubine to enhance the tradition of the Ger, whereas Joshua actually made his wedding canopy entirely from the seed of the Ger Tzedek, i.e. The Family of Rachav.

Joshua carries a special weight in his lineage that was put on the line through his union with Rachav, for Joshua is the end of the line of the First Born continuum that extended from Abraham, manifesting through Joshua by way of Joseph and Ephraim culminating with the marriage with Rachav. By way of Joshua and Rachav and more importantly their offspring [females to the negation of the males as was stated], with special precedence being given to perpetuate Priests and Prophets in potential, the stage was never more set for Pinchas to come on board, perpetuate the seed of Joshua [and their common ancestor Joseph, of which Pinchas also is related to on his mother’s side, as a Daughter of Putiel, wife of Elazar, father of Pinchas]. The two [Pinchas & Joshua] represent the secret closeness of Joseph [Ephraim] and Levi as hinted at in the additional “yud” given to [Ye]Hoshea bin Nun by Moses in the spies, as is explained by the Arizal as an impregnation with the Tribal head Levi as a double [firstborn] portion. [*every spy had its Tribal Head infused in each member’s mission]

Pinchas thus married a daughter of Joshua and Rachav [which raised issue after Pinchas’ Priesthood over a similar (impure manner) between Zimri and Cozbi, of the Tribe of Shimon and Midianite women], continued Joseph’s spiritual legacy [as hinted at in Pinchas’ (messianic understood) name] and ultimately inherited a good portion of Land from Joshua, due to the inherent void in his lineage from a lack of male offspring; the male in laws would inherit Joshua, i.e. through Priests and Prophets – among them was Jeremiah. This Land would be known as Givat Pinchas [the Hill of Pinchas] located in the Hills of Ephraim, and buried there to this day is the father of Pinchas, Elazar the Priest, son of Aaron the Priest. This is the same Aaron who in the Parsha was granted victory in Korach’s rebellion, was distinguished as the quintessential Priest, and by as such, it was decreed that the Priest would not have ownership of Tribal Land in the normative sense. The question then must be addressed as to the nature of Pinchas’ Land.

The commentators are all in basic agreement that Pinchas was given the Land by the inhabitants of Ephraim in close proximity to Joshua, as an official and eternal transaction through inheriting his wife [Pinchas lived forever as the eventual manifestation of Elijah literally, and thus was destined to outlive any prospective wife, thus an inheritance. Parashas Pinchas is ironically the source of such Torah Law in conjunction to our Parsha which deals with Priestly Land.] By this acquisition, Pinchas would never lose the Land to Jubilee, and he merited having his righteous father buried on his private lot.  This now brings a special light onto our Parsha that deals with Priestly Land.

The Parsha is clear that no Priest is to own Land, and Pinchas is the joyous exception to the rule [as he is for many ground breaking areas in law and Kabbalistic philosophy such as Messianic truths], one that stems directly from Gerim. Joshua set the stage with his unique view of Torah Law and thought when he coupled with Rachav, a Ger Tzedek, produced by a pre-requisite family (after 40+ years) of Ger Tzedek lineage (akin to Ruth; listed among the three daughters of Shem/Iyov), preparing the footstool for Pinchas and his soulful story [encoded in his name according to the Zohar]. Pinchas seized the moment, as no one would prove to better at standing as a role model to “Pinchas Torah Concepts” than the man Pinchas himself!  What is exceptional to the Pinchas saga is that it is rooted and revealed through the prism of the Ger in our Parsha, and as a set precedence to continue in Torah Scripture. The Land that belongs to Pinchas will forever tell the tale of the sacrifice to Torah Truth that was dually achieved by Pinchas and Joshua, a symbol of their close union, as essential students to Moses and his Kingdom that entered the Land on their behalf.

We are embarking on Pinchas Torah in these next couple of Parshiot, and Korach served as a template of the final stage before redemption as the rebellion against the Torah that could be dubbed as the quintessential Gog [of Magog]. Pinchas according to the Arizal and others is the soul that will contain the messianic mission of the future, restoring the Torah as he did numerous times with sacrificing action, and bringing an end to all opposition to God’s truth. What is often hard to hear is that the Truth is best seen from the objective vantage point of the Ger, and perhaps we see this the most clearly in Parashas Korach. From a simple adjustment of perspective, a wealth of Torah can be understood through Pinchas, to an extent of absolute revelation to the blueprint and DNA of the Oral Torah, which came/comes from Gerim, as often is the case.

Special is the Land of Israel in the eyes of God, coupled with His love of Gerim; for Pinchas was given Land by means of the Ger, Caleb delivered his portion [and his lack of sons as well] to his seed, and we all look forward to the future, when the Temple will be built from the Hands of Heaven, in a time that the Ger Toshav can come home to his land, enjoying the milk and honey that comes served best, while sitting with the best point of view of all those in the Torah. If the Jew represents the Voice of the Turtledove that is heard in the Land, then perhaps someone was there first watching it happen, enjoying the finest parts of the Land.
Look around, and perhaps you may stumble upon the position of the Ger - a wondrous Torah indeed, one seen through the eyes of God. Would the Land stand without a scribe to document His Torah, or would the Torah speak the tongue of a Foreign Land; perhaps one should stand with those in good standing with The Lord Himself, for does he not speak of His Love of the Ger?

Motzie Shabbos 11 P.M. - Tzfat Time - Parasha Shavua
                  Wed 11 P.M.  - Torah of the Ger


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