Along With The Bread and Wine – The Meat Is On The Table
Rabbi David Katz
In Memory of my Father ליב בן נחמן הכהן – he probably knew this Parasha better than anyone; as a true Kohen, he owned a Meat Factory still in existence today. May he merit to learn the Emes of Meat from the Mouth of the Rosh Yeshiva Shel Maaleh and may this be in merit for that endeavor as an elevation of his Soul in Gan Eden.
**Note: Read the sentences first without brackets [ ] and upon completion of sentence re-read with brackets, for easiest flow and comprehension. I think you will find the bracketed information quite helpful in gaining a 3-D model of what is being taught. Enjoy!
Parashas Re’eh is particularly fascinating when seen in the residual light that [hopefully] still emanates from last week’s Parasha “Eikev.” As last week the Zohar honed in on the essence of the Parsha with its precision focus upon “small matters” such as the Ger, and his association with bread [and due to the highly Kabbalistic teachings from the Zohar, the Parasha can be properly compared to wine, which is synonymous with “sod” /”secret” of Torah, as seen by their common gematria/numerical value – 70] and garment, this week brings apparent completion to the conceptual “set table” [the concept of Torah/Halacha being complete and ready for practice, is to make it as a |Shulchan Aruch – “a set table”] and effortlessly it seems intertwines “meat” [and the concept of] with every step forward, from the Parasha’s beginning, and onwards until the Parasha finishes where it began – with a Blessing [and a curse]. It is surprisingly vivid for the mind to witness the simple yet deep conclusion of the Parasha, being summarized that the Blessing you seek must not be held against you; and this is none other than the finishing touch to God’s table, the Meat – a proverbial [and actual] altar to the Lord.
The scope of this potential breakthrough in revelation on a halachic level is immense, and when one applies “Chassidus” [inner most realm of Torah; conclusions drawn from combining Torah angles; the inner dimension of Torah that identifies as the natural mind (sechel) of the Ger] into the fabric, the Parasha [and the Torah all the more so] absolutely enter(s) the realm of Absolute Knowledge, and awareness of nothing but Pure Truth. On a very oversimplified level, the Parasha seems to equate [as One “Face of Torah” from the famed “70 Faces of Torah”] that the entire Torah can be seen from a perspective of “meat” and our relationship with it. In fact, from this view of meat in the “positive”, one can conclude [i.e. the impression of meat on the whole Torah “Lefi Pshuto” – “to understand the intent of the written from a basis of the non-written”] that its negative [non-emotional; in terms of positive –negative relationships in science] would explain the entire Torah, as the premise of the Book of Devarim - keeping pace with its goal of Torah – reiteration. In essence, the Torah was opened last week with Bread, as the appetizer [Kiddush and HaMotzie], and now we are ready for the Festive Meal [the whole Seudah].
In one sense we can compare the Torah through its first rendition the Torah of Shem, he who brought out Bread and Wine, to a “People” like Abraham – the Ger Toshav. By Mishna Torah, we are served the Meat, a second time through, as this becomes elevated into the essential Torah of Moses; interestingly enough, when Shem brings out Bread and Wine to Abraham [Bereishit Ch. 14], the end letters to the words “King of Salem Brought Out” – has each end letter with a “Mem”, “Shin”, and “Heh”, together forming “Moshe.” Thus last week in Eikev we found the Ger [as in Moses’ Name “בשגם” (as hinted at by same gematria), it hints to Bereishit – Shem – Ger – and Moshiach], and as he was compared to Bread, the Torah’s Essential Light was exposed through its mitzvah equivalent of the Ger, as King David says, [The. 119:19] “I am a Ger”; King David illustrates how this contains the entire Torah]. This week we are urged to go a little bit deeper and experience the essence as meat, and once again for proper context, the Torah [of Moshe] paints its picture with the Ger, and as per its Universal message, it is in proximity of a Mitzvah that absorbs the Jewish People and the Gerim. From this point forward, it would be fitting to say, “Welcome to the world of the Ger,” and better yet, “welcome to the Torah of Life.”
To make matters short and concise [and within definite scope of the Parasha context], the Parasha illustrates what is perhaps the greatest distinction of a Ger [Toshav] as a non-inclusion of a Ger Gamor [convert], and yet how many people make the mistake of locating the “Ger” of our Parasha, then out of haste and ignorance continue to mislabel him as a convert. I am referring to Devarim 14:21, “You shall not eat any carcass; to the Ger who is in your cities shall you give it that he may eat it, or sell it to a gentile, for you are a Holy People to Hashem, Your God; do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.” This one verse in the Torah is the entire basis of everything known about the Ger, and has a macro potential to encompass the entire Torah; weigh in all of the other meat references, and should be clear that Moses has [re]encapsulated the entire Torah [again] right before our eyes. The mission statement from this verse should be the need to look up the material with a deeper perspective in mind, in this case to weigh in the meat factor. Imagine the tragedy that befalls the people who carelessly call this Ger a convert; that is to say that a Jew eats non-Kosher Meat, the Ger [Toshav…] then does not exist. Woe be the one who does not show Love for the Ger, for Hashem Loves the Ger, and you should Love the Ger.
The basic premise of the verse, [and that is a gross understatement] is that the Ger [non-convert without exception] has removed himself from the status of being of the Nations [goyim in the slang sense] and is a [4th type of] Israelite [joining Priests, Levites, and Israelites – he is the Righteous Ger, hence why Gerim are called Ger Tzedek – philosophically (taken in the literal sense, devoid of halachic weight; the 4-headed Hebrew Letter Shin – limud of Chassidus in Torah]; he is categorically NOT the Nachri, of whom the verse speaks about next, and the Jewish people are commanded to sell [carcass] the meat to him, while giving it to the Ger. It is forbidden to receive a gift from the Nachri [who is deemed steeped in idolatry] and Torah does not condone the relationship between Jews and the Nachri. On the flip side of things, the Jew and the Ger have the exact opposite type of relationship; this is called “Mitzvah Le’Chiyuso” [a command to give to the Ger vitality in physicality and spirituality].
It is at this point, the Torah expands in every direction for the Ger Toshav, and every option he has to walk the path of righteousness. He may choose to focus on “no other Gods” [incorporating the maximum of the “negative”], or choose to remain a classic Noahide, while some may even take on the whole Torah, mimicking the ancient Gerim who came before him, whose legacy is told to “stand at Sinai”; just as those in the past stood there, he loads his potential offspring to “return there” as well. The common thread amongst all three types of Gerim [Avodah Zara 64b] is the need to eat non-kosher meat, as spoken of in Parashas Re’eh.
The Parasha is all about meat, and the major mitzvah of the Parasha [with the Ger] is also about meat being handled properly. The generalization to these matters are two-fold: there is meat, and then there is the Torah of meat. It is thought that all of Man’s service of God and perceptions of this World can be reduced to how we incorporate meat into our lives. One avenue is top take no caution with meat, yet the Torah warns [the sons of Noah] that was the Path to the Flood; hence “don’t eat the Limb of a Live Animal” was instituted to curb the sensation. Yet this comes with caution as well, as evidenced by the very next warning in the Torah – to not spill the blood of Man [which is another (more serious obviously) form of meat and blood]. By the “Taryag” commandments  Hashem illustrates the “Torah of Meat” in our Parasha, and Moses has successfully shown that the whole Torah can be different angles of perception of meat in proper context. The goal as always, is the repair of Adam, and Noah’s commands, were to help rectify that equation; with the advent of Shem, Abraham, Sinai, etc. this would become a guarantee - a guarantee at least from one perspective, in the proper sensitivity for meat and all associated with it.
The Ger is cautioned that while he may incorporate even all the Commandments of the Torah, he must save the consumption of non-carcass meat as his last Torah fulfillment. In basic terms, when the meat stops, the Torah begins, and per force this is the proper order of progression. Meat serves as the basis of all Spiritual matters governing the Ger and the Jew [together] – for it is at the very least, the conceptual bridge that expresses itself as a universal language between not just these two peoples, but all peoples.
Meat is the language that we have to speak with God, as there is no greater line of communication in the World, than the function of the Altar within the Holy Temple. [Even as Man communicates this way, so too does the rest of the Universe operate on these terms, concepts, and principles.] The Ger thus is the elected one by God to represent the point of where the Halacha not only starts [with meat], but he also ushers in the beginning of the realm towards the infinite, in opening the door to Chassidut based on pure Torah Commandments. From here we delve into what is meat, what is the nature of the Temple, what is the Ger, what is a Jew, even what is Life and God – all based on perceptions of Meat.
In a World where the Ger’s Torah is the most objective view from the point of the lowest common denominator, and now through Eikev and Re’eh, we have reached the DNA of existence in the investigation of the seemingly simple and overlooked elements of Life in Bread and Meat. Perhaps the only way we will ever know what Bread and Meat really are, and have answers to such matters as “will Meat be in the Third Temple,” etc. is when the Jews will finally realize that they have a tremendous gift of God, in a Torah that allows them to properly eat Meat, and thus giving them the merit to give it to a Ger. This may sound like a Beis Hamikdash reality with Offerings and Olah’s up in fire to the pleasing of God by the hands of Jews and Gerim; so what will it take to simply give Meat to a Ger – and finally allow the Hidden Light of Creation to pour out of eons of closed-door-syndrome! It is not that hard, to just stop calling the Ger in Re’eh a convert, look up the ramifications as such, acknowledge the Truth that is now readily available, and the sky is the limit.
Who would have thought that the secrets of Creation could be found in Meat? And then one should surely remember, Sechel is a Ger in this World, and that the Torah was written of words of the Gerim [Zohar BeHalaloscha]. As the Simple Son of Passover said, “what is this?” – in context and understood as a True Jacob, an Ish Tam [Simple meaning of having known the Truth] – it is my presumption that the Ger knows all too well what meat is, and is willing to serve with Chassidic undertone; the question that remains, will there ever be someone simple enough to ask? Maybe not, because the Gerim already are, and as the parable goes, if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound? God Loves the Gerim, and so should you.
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