Among Pharaoh’s Men
Rabbi David Katz
Pharaoh’s three Men: Bilaam, Job, and Jethro – delegated by Pharaoh to find the nature of deism. The destiny of these four men [which will detail all Torah pathways] will comprise the backbone of the essential Torah, and ultimately provide a proper canvas for Moses, such that the message becomes the lyrical advantage to Moses – Messiah who is destined to once again sing his song. Yet as these fellows consist of the Torah’s map in entirety, and keeping pace with the agenda of Creation, to rally behind a central theme, perhaps Moses’ inner desire for knowledge best serves to provide a proper perspective of the Torah in its conclusion state; this is the sum parts of the Book of Job. To put it blindly, Job had one issue to solve, and that is, “why do the righteous suffer [unjustly]?” Parashas Haazinu comes to bring sacred light into this area of darkness, and let it be known, the Torah concludes its message with its essence delivered from the point of view of a select group of ancient men in Torah History, all coming together in one glorious generation. These Men were not Jewish. These Men were the good, bad, and ugly of the Ger Toshav World at large, and yet coming out unscathed [much like Rebbe Akiva], is the eternal answer to Moses’ plea to God in the form that in its end will reject Bilaam, praise Job, elect Jethro, and pave the path to redemption and Messiah. In the Book of Gerim, they have never shined brighter than right now in Haazinu.
“Why do the righteous suffer” ponders Job, ponders Moses, and ultimately as we see from Pharaoh, ponders all of Mankind on some level. “Why do I have it rough, when ‘Ploni’ never gets in trouble?” “I do well, but ‘Ploni’ sure never gets a fair shot in life.” Why do Gerim struggle, why are Jews prosecuted, why was there a holocaust, why were the Gerim exiled eons ago??? These seem as good questions, and such that they require great and creative answers, yet in truth perhaps what is missing is authentic proportion to compensate for a steady diet of low in-take mentality that is needed to fuel the Kingdom of God. In simple terms, we are trying to open a lemonade stand, calling it the Holy Temple, when in truth, we actually need something the goes beyond that which ever actually did stand on the Temple Mount. This is called the Third temple, it has never stood erect in our domain, and six thousand years of history will go down as a pathetic plight in trying to put a square in a round hole, i.e. perpetuating an insulting take on God’s eternal dwelling. Job is about finally acknowledging the grandiose nature of God’s providence, how he runs his Universe, and conceiving an infrastructure befitting the true King in a just fashion that caters to his Hand upon Mankind. In essence, God doesn’t sell lemonade, but we are challenged with the task of understanding God with the clarity that it can be easily explained over a glass of lemonade with a five year old. A word to the wise is sufficient.
Moses explains [with help from the Commentator Rashi and Zohar contribution; this is the framework
taken throughout the entire discourse] that this song [Haazinu] takes shape only after calling upon the Heavens and the Earth to lay testimony “on this day” to all that is in this song. As it is explained, Creation is built to work with God; from this aspect of God’s Creating the Universe, the door to a false understanding of how God runs the universe is granted, while at the same time the even greater challenge is given to attempt to understand the bigger authentic picture and to succumb to a half-baked attempt to sell the proverbial lemonade labeling it as an allegory of having faith in God. God desires Truth and Accuracy and Justice; thus there is to resolve Creation’s riddle embedded in cycle after cycle of repetitious history, we are in fact guaranteed that there is an End, and in that End, we are promised to learn about God and His Creation as it was always intended and seen by the Heaven and Earth on that day.
The basic premise of Job/Iyov is that he doesn’t understand just how God is a true King [to the extent that Moses was NOT a true King (he was destined for another initiative as opposed to King David who did resemble the Kingdom that God desires); keeping in mind that Moses wrote Iyov] and begging the question concerning justice amongst men, despite what we as Men perceive. The task at hand as many have become aware of on their own over time, is that what is needed is a change of perception. It is precisely at this point where we witness the perpetual war between the soul and the religion; some might say, and the Zohar resolves – conflict is everything. From this contradiction comes the Divine solution, and of course when you skip to the end of Job/Iyov, that is indeed how the Book ends. However to appreciate what Job/Iyov learns in the process, is often overlooked, and comes in full bloom within Moses’ words in our Parsha.
To put it in terms of our lemonade stand, the world exists only for me, as Chazal state, “Tzaddik Yesod Olam” – each person [as the dictum states by the prophet Habbakuk who summarizes the entire Torah, “The righteous live in their faith”] must consider that the world is created for him, and him alone. The reason is actually quite startling, yet the lemonade stand knows it all too well – because it’s true! By the greatness of God, the only means to take into account matters such as fate, freewill, destiny, names and associations, etc. is to play by a subjective reality, and impose it upon all objective views. Rebbe Nachman in his Likutei Mohoran calls this the ultimate Faith by its very definition!
The challenge is that you are taking a spiritual “Hope” and living by it in a mundane society and way of life. The result, is that by God’s Divine Intervention [and that alone – as there is none other than Him] this actually becomes true, and we have this relationship with God. The miracle of God, is that He weaves each soul of creation into a fabric of existence where we all play by these same rules, and yet we are all unique to Him. This by definition is possible by an Infinite True [and Good] Deity dealing with Its Creation of Finite beings that envelop His Name [as it says He is one and His name is one].
By this principle, there is no you, there is only me, and my life is God communicating to me through my life in what is known as Mazal. This type of Mazal is not to say “I am compelled in a certain way, it is to say “I interact [with God] in a certain way.” The difference is recognize cognitively that I can interface with God, and that interface is based on laws, righteousness, and ultimately the Torah that testifies this is what God desires from me; the reciprocation is such because God Himself is the essence of Good. The interesting theme amongst this maze, is that through imperfections of man, allows each one of us to interact with God, and ultimately all to interact with each other. From the perspective of Man we are one, while from the perspective of God, He is one. In truth Man must realize, “He is one and His name are one.” The awesome task at hand is thus to find the balance between “me” “you” and “God” and come out with an outcome that is only true.
By viewing the World this way [as explained in Haazinu and as coming to answer Job/Iyov] this simplest answer now can be achieved: I can’t know why you suffer and you can’t know why I suffer. If we only acknowledge suffering, we dwell in our pity and lack the bigger picture at hand. Likewise if one of us pities the other [as in Job/Iyov] the same effect takes place of missing the big picture, i.e. the perception of the Hand of God in motion – which it is! [In motion]
Solution is we know ourselves to a point then we meet “you”; that is the point that we enter the arena of God and His providence, and the opportunity to live out true Torah becomes the opportunity at hand. To simply accept our fellow, and be with him, he will come to let go of “your saga” as well, i.e. both internal; conflicts come to an end – take notice, neither of you now suffer, have entered a state of friendship, and are now able to perceive God. This perception will in the form of witnessing his Hand upon the moment, in a flash of Mazal, revelation of the Divine, yet totally contained in the anomaly of life. This is when Man can perceive that Life is indeed Holy, and to the surprise of all [i.e. Job/Iyov] this revelation will yield insight into Torah making lemonade stand clear that we all [unbeknownst to ourselves] dramatize essential Torah, and this is our merit and opportunity in Life to live a divine message. To an even bigger surprise, this is the miracle of the prophecy of our God – given names that we tote as the medal we know not of, yet pronounce with a veracity even greater than the highest faith; again, essential conflict at hand.
By simply living life, engaging with people, and letting God commune with us, we get closer and closer to a civilization, an End Time where God will finally choose to settle amongst Man, by resting His Presence in the Third Temple of Zion. So to answer the question of “why do we suffer” – Man must consider making it an observation and not a point of investigation. This alone will not only relieve the pain of one’s fellow, but from yourself as well; God is allowed to come into context and focus, and the arena will be one fitting for the Divine Presence, as God dwells amongst those that Fear God, and there is no greater way to fear God, than to keep His Torah. As the Zohar concludes, the key word to this equation is Kindness, and as Moses concludes in our Parasha, this type of Kindness is the path to revelation of God that heals His Creation and brings His presence closer to those that are far.
We close the Torah over the Holidays, and when the time comes, all will know the Torah’s message for Mankind. Yet let it be etched upon the hearts of Man that this endeavor became a Jewish question, such that it perpetuates each generation until it reaches the End. Yet if we just think a little bit bigger, and go a little bit deeper, and sell a little bit more lemonade before jumping to Wall Street in our fragile minds, one will see this was the agenda of the Ger; not only then, but now – this is the message of the Ger. Of Pharaoh’s men, Bilaam came to pervert the Truth that comes from heaven, while Job/Iyov persevered to see this equation compute a tangible answer. The most righteous of the lot however was Jethro.
If we are to seek the Ger’s greatest contributions in Torah, we can look straight away to Shem, Noah, and even Jethro with his clarity with Moses over the courts in parashas Jethro. But as the Zohar says, the righteous give their essential Torah the day of death [like Moses like Rashbi, etc.]; on this day, Moses gave over the depths of a Torah that was written with vessels of the Gerim [Zohar] and no one was closer to the life of Moses than Jethro, the father of Ger Toshavim until this day. Haazinu is the song that will be sung, and King Solomon fashioned his Song of Songs with Messianic Light that was planted from the efforts that took place at this time. The Zohar ends its discourse with a logical deduction: don’t be like Bilaam. If we apply this process to the extent of yielding a revelation, the Torah’ appropriate conclusion would be, “thank You Jethro.”
If we remember how the Book of Bamidbar ended in its Messianic Light, Pinchas earned the Brit Shalom, and there we concluded the same; Pinchas was inspired by his grandfather Jethro, as from a far it was clear who was the guiding Light for Pinchas and the source of his bravery. The next time you have lemonade, perhaps you will remember a now clear Torah dictum, “…it was learned from Jethro” - and in the bigger picture, do Kindness for the Ger, and let the Glory of God be upon you. Did anyone show this more in the history of the World than Jethro and the Ger of our lives?
To answer as Job/Iyov would have it said in Truth and Faith, “Love the Ger, for God Loves the Ger – and He is right.” It isn’t about how it ends, its how we got there, and we got there from Jethro and Gerim.
Class On Parasha Will be On Regular Time Motzie Yom Kippur 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time]