Friday, July 5, 2013

The Zohar Finale!

Parashas Matos – Masei -
The Real Derech Eretz

Rabbi David Katz

The Zohar on our Parsha can in many ways be seen as a fitting close to the Book of Bamidbar, and to a greater extent the entire Torah, as we conclude the Torah’s message, and trek onwards to our fundamental review and reiteration of the Torah in what is often called “Mishna Torah” [Devarim] – The Torah in review. One can argue that the underlying premise of the Torah is to introduce through two unique pathways two unique Nations that must learn to find each other, co-exist, and forge an inseparable bond, while maintaining a healthy buffer zone; all under the pretext of a search and rescue mission as part of the myriad of challenges presented through Torah reality. The objective of such activity can be primarily recognized as the flourishing of Torah through the hand of Israel, while putting into practice the Torah’s innate wisdom with sights set to redeem the elusive Ger [Tzedek].
The most important ingredient of this diet would fall under the guidelines of the first and most important commandment in the Torah [for both peoples]: “to be fruitful and multiply”; accordingly, it would take the entirety of Torah wisdom to achievement a refinement that would befit both camps and allow separate sovereignty, while not polluting the taboo Mendoza Line. For the repair of society and continuing to walk with Hashem, marriage and procreation would become the Holy of Holies, and the prevailing theme of what would define a successful regime, compared to that of the exiles and failures of yesteryear.

The Parshiot [and the Zohar] hone in on a lesser known law amongst the myriad of statutes that we have covered between the covers of the Torah [drawing extra emphasis on the very nature of the Torah having a cover, i.e. The Red Heifer being seen as the Torah’s fertilization as such], this being the nature of captive women coming into Israel for possible marriage, and depending on the circumstances, the Talmud makes mention that under extreme [and even non-ideal] circumstances, a Priest may be involved, as Pinchas the Priest is on scene when the law is introduced upon Israel.  [Bamidbar 31:17] From this relatively unknown law, the secrets of Kabbalah ooze out as edible fruits from the Tree of Life; the most inner dimension of the Pillars of Life stand tall in the form of Man and Woman, Ger and Jew, “Red and White” [in the secrets of colors], Kindness and Judgment [the two arms of existence], and the Godly Soul vs. the Animal Soul [that will come to define the Torah existence of both Nations as evidence of the burden of the Commandments].

To begin the exegesis of the topics mentioned, the most basic of all beginnings is to accurately define Man and Woman according to the Torah [and Zohar in particular], as by way of cliché, the World consists of two types of people in male and female.  The male in Kabbalistic terms is seen to enjoy a soul source of Kindness [inclined to] whereas his counterpart, i.e. Woman, is rooted in Judgment [most keenly aware of the yolk placed upon Man]. His task is to develop and impart his Wisdom through Kindness, in a palatable form, so that the Woman may be able to taste from the fruits of Kindness, sweeten her view of the Universe, and thus bring both parties under the canopy of a Merciful World, one that would recognize true reality, as God’s humble domain. 

The basic premise is that neither enjoys liberty of a full panoramic view of God’s Creation alone [to which the Torah says “to be alone is not good”], and the task is to come together for the repair of schism, and enjoy the Will of God from a state of heightened perception and recognition of God through a clear Torah lens. Anything that would stand against this paradigm would represent an antithesis to God’s created purpose for mankind, thus delaying God’s destination point of a healthy and perfected society. This is the blueprint for all pairs in the Kabbalistic Universe, and thereby the core to the repair of schism between the Jew and the Ger.

Irrespective of one’s national identity, the layout for Women is to exist within a state of judgment in spirit; this is realized in her desire for Understanding, and keen ability to do so. Where her story takes unique shape and form, is in the Man that she chooses, and recognizes, as the means for her potential to establish herself as having ability and confidence to sustain a full measure of Light. The attribute of Judgment is a natural vessel in a spiritual universe, and only the chemistry of a compatible Kindness will culminate into a Merciful new Creation that rectifies both parties.  Being as such for the Woman [and in particular since the law only is interested in her, and the male counterpart is in exclusion, she is seen in universal terms], a greater emphasis is put onto the Man and his flavor of Kindness in accordance with the Woman that he is to be partnered with.

The two types of Man [as the basic fractal of Creation is often seen in a basic duality lens, comparing and contrasting two types, whatever the subject] can be generalized as the Ger and the Jew, while engaging two types of women, the Jewess and the Giuress [female Ger]. In oversimplified terms, a healthy relationship Kabbalistically is between the Jewish Man and Woman and the male and female Gerim.  Not only does this serve to preserve and govern both Nations uniquely, but  it in and of itself it is a type of healthy male and female existence; the Jewish Nation taking on the female personification, while the Ger represents the masculine role, within Torah government.  

The male Ger and his Kindness, is a particular perspective [deriving from Abrahamic Kindness] that naturally grafts onto a female Ger, in a fertilization that bears fruits of Mercy. The Jewish male on the other hand [and his perspective of Abrahamic Kindness] has his own separate effect on a Jewish woman that will sweeten her existence. [Both view of Abraham by the males are thus necessary to gain full perspective of what could be seen as a supernal Abraham, i.e. the true nature to God’s attribute (in sefirot) of Kindness; it takes two to know One] The inverse from the Female Jewish side of the equation can be seen as catastrophic as we will see, and the inverse from the female Ger side is actually the nature of the Torah law of the Parsha, and even the source of what will go down in history as the seed of Moshiach!

From the Jewish female side, and in a condition of engagement with a male Ger, the Torah warns against such a union. Although there are always exceptions to rules in nature that seem to defy logic [even Torah logic, i.e. Iyov], the Kindness of a male Ger lacks its desired intention when coupled with Jewish Judgment. The result is actually a heightened sense of Judgment that is devoid of Kindness, and actually becomes acute stern judgment. This may not even be seen as something to be avoided amongst both parties, and can then appear as an elevation of spirit and enjoyed as a pleasant surprise. However, this is indeed a pitfall, and goes against Hashem’s constructive plan for Creation; this is therefore destructive from the Torah point of view, when seen in its true macro form, and is fuel for the animalistic aspects of soul, in face of the divine qualities within.

In the other hemisphere, a Ger woman is best suited for the Kindness of the Ger male, as they share the same spiritual matrix under the domain of a common Abraham/Kindness, in light of the proper Ger Toshav. Yet as we know rules break in nature, there is a special circumstance where there is precedent of the female Ger – Jewish male union.  This can be seen in two simple yet radical ways that have seen their share of Light in Torah in very subtle and non-discreet settings. The most famous examples are in association with Pinchas the Priest and Ruth with Boaz.

Although Pinchas’ specific history with his wife of whom he inherited is sketchy at best, what we do know is that he married a daughter of Joshua and Rachav; Joshua obviously Jewish while Rachav certainly a Ger Tzedek female; non concubine. The product was otherworldly, as Rachav produced the Nation’s most distinguished Priests and Prophets, among them Jeremiah.  From this we see [that to whatever extent] Joshua married a Ger female and Pinchas [a Priest] was able to marry the product of such a union. The irony of the story is that Pinchas only became a Priest because of his zealotry in these matters! Thus the lesson learned from Pinchas’ spear, is that only when the conditions are spot on within the boundary of the utmost holiness can such a union commence; failure in these matters are consequently catastrophic as we saw with Zimri and Cozbi through the Tribe of Shimon.

The Zohar comes to illustrate exactly this point through the attribute of Kindness; for this shall build the World. Rashbi [Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai] states that if there is a scenario of a Ger woman and Jewish male, and the male representation is the ONLY means she has to marry and bear fruit [as evidenced with Joshua and Rachav] then he is obligated to not forsake her, and to “build the world with Kindness” through her. This is an extremely rare occasion, not practiced today, and is extremely difficult to carry out in accordance with God’s will in Torah.  With that stated as such, this happens to be the very pipeline that Messianic seed is sewn, in efforts to confuse the evil of this world. The only problem is that it has equally baffled the multitudes of Torah scholars over time as well.

The one major salvation that we have openly witnessed with regards to this archaic statute of permitted intermingling occurred with Ruth and Boaz. As we know with Ruth, she was a Moabite, then, went onwards to become a Noahide / Ger as we meet her in her marriage to Machlon before he dies childless. Ruth then ventures onwards with Naomi and proclaims, “Your God is my God – Your people are my people.” What seemed as a potentially benign statement would be the shot heard around the world, for this was the moment of truth for the eventual opening of Moshiach to find entrance into this world.

Boaz soon took Ruth in Levirate marriage in a righteous effort to reclaim the life of Ruth’s former husband Machlon through her eventual son through Boaz, in Oved, father of Jesse, father of David. In a generic view of the Torah Universe, Boaz had no business to be with Ruth, through the protocol of the Jew and the Ger. Yet one could argue that this was a special exception through Torah Law in Bamidbar, and Boaz was justified as such; however what then is the status of the seed, i.e. is [the seed of Messiah son of] David kosher?! – This is the age old question in fact!

Torah informs us on this point, that there is not to worry, for Ruth in Boaz’s eyes was “an eshet chayil” – a Jewish woman, for she proclaimed to Naomi – “your people….Your God…” The amazing function of this dynamic is that this is achieved BECAUSE of the Torah law in Bamidbar! Since the union was technically allowed, [through her Judgment and his Kindness] Ruth was free to work with her seeds of Judgment, and she discovered [through Naomi and Machlon before her] what Jewish Judgment in women is; she thus desired the same for herself, and becomes a vessel for Jewish Kindness, as she desired to become a conduit of God’s Mercy from a Jewish point of view.

Boaz soon discovered, that her actions and desires [to couple for the sake of a commandment; a Jewish expression as opposed to that of an open action of traditional Ger women] were inherently Jewish, and he appropriately realized that she was indeed Jewish, by her deepest desire finding its way into reality. Thus through the opening in Law and with completely righteous intentions and actions, Boaz and Ruth pioneered a unique path from the female Ger domain, along the lines of Jewish Kindness, and into Messianic royalty. Had any of the equation been different, this would be impossible to achieve; the entire mission would need to be directed by the finger of God.

We see that in God’s universe, extreme caution must be adhered to, especially in matters of procreation, and in simplified terms, making flesh pink from joining forces of Red and White in proper male and female relations. As with anything in life, moral social norms are in place for the betterment of Mankind, keeping integrity amongst peoples, and allowing for an orderly dynamic in society. The Torah however is not a draconian text, and sees into the hearts of its adherer’s; sometimes God’s Kindness must prevail when the conditions are just right. Although most of us will never find ourselves on such risky ground, and will follow suit with our ancestors before us, such sacred knowledge will bestow profound wisdom into the Torah, providing the answers we need in moments of faith, where only God’s truth will suffice.

The Ger and the Jew [along with all other paired couples] are commanded and destined to Love on another; our existence is predicated on this point. We shall enjoyed side – by – side success and redemption, walking into the Messianic age with hands held high. Yet the Torah closes with both a Blessing and a Curse, much like the ultimate closing we encounter in Devarim. The Ger and the Jew will be in intimate proximity of one another; a word to the wise should suffice. For every Shimon, there is a Pinchas with his spear held in hand; yet for every step of the Messiah, we may recall Ruth, Boaz, and the Tribe of Judah to some extent.  The Torah commands Love the Ger, and it is our job, as Mankind, to know what that means, for that was why we were created – to carry out His Torah with perfected responsibility in hand. This may be where the Torah ends, yet this is actually where the path of Life begins; for every Adam and Eve, underneath lays the blueprint for the Ger and the Jew. Thank God they are in realistic terms, the ultimate fruits of the Tree of Life, like a delicate fine wine, best served when eaten out of the palm of mutual hands, as will be done in the era of Adam’s Universal Shabbat, and may it be soon in our days. Amen.

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Leah said...

Shabbat Shalom.

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