Monday, December 16, 2013

Who Are These?

                                                               Parashas Vayechi
                                                         Redemption of The Ger
                                                               Rabbi David Katz
                 ***Special Thanks to The Ramchal – For Coining the Phrase/Concept

Parashas Vayechi is riddled with many obvious staples of the Redemption, such that they have become the classic tapestry of esoteric realms of Messianic lore. Whether you wish to discuss the Blessings of Judah and his rights of Malchus / Rulership, and all the while within is laced gleanings of the future simultaneous – enigmatic inclusion of Moses alongside the Messiah trail, or Bnei Reuven, who according to the Zohar, bring redemption, yet seem left out of Jacob's acknowledgements – Vayechi is filled with ironic twists of fate. Yet the most fateful twist of them all within Torah eschatology, something that King David alludes to in Psalms, followed by the Zohar, and onwards in the later generations – is the Redemption of The Ger. The Parsha at hand perhaps more than any other, explains the and reveals to the keen eye not only who is Messiah son of Joseph, but takes it a step deeper into two new characters – Messiah(s) son(s) of Efraim and Menashe [sons of Joseph] and what exactly is their involvement with The Ger, Redemption, Ben David, etc.

The Zohar in building its angle of the redemption of The Ger as a staple for the beginning of the redemption process, first states that just as Shimon and Reuven are not listed favorably by the Torah's Blessings, yet are nonetheless redeemed, so too sons of Jacob through Joseph's progeny – Efraim and Menashe. The case built is somewhat complex in its construction, by using Torah exegesis to show the Divine handiwork within the verses to show the range that The Complete Redemption yields. Two of such methods are Gematria, and word extrapolation [Remez (hint) and Drush (analogy)], and along with Joseph's character traits as an archetype figure – based on the Torah's account with Joseph and Jacob , we have all the making of a clear window that peaks into the opening moments of Redemption. Couple this with King David's view/prophecy of Gog Magog concerning Noahides/Gerim, and Rabbinic tradition of how the transition to The days of Messiah will be, and thus the Messiah son of Joseph was never clearer, as a partner to Messiah son of David. Once the story is complete, we can take at face value the words of such luminaries as the Ramchal that paint a picture that to many may be distorted, but to the pure enthusiast without agenda, the arena could not be any more vivid and an Honor to God.

A famous Gematria exists showing the unique relationship between Shimon and Reuven with Efraim and Menashe, in that their perspective Gematria has a differential of one [in difference; 725/726]. In standard Gematria, the seeker will engage in comparing likewise Gematrias, yet we learn that there can be a differential of one in any set. Thus as the Zohar explains, on the path that is already easy to identify, Efraim and Menashe will be to Jacob as Reuven and Shimon [which in the end actually happened, for Joseph although he is an original Tribesman, is left out of the count, along with the Priest Levi, and inserted is Efraim and Menashe along with the other ten Brothers. It should be noted that not always do we accept this count, and at times the original twelve are used to express a point of view].

At this stage we find out in the Zohar that as Shimon and Reuven shall be ultimately redeemed [even as it seems that they may not be] from a compromised position in their historical context, so too will the full extent of Efraim and Menashe. The startling revelation offered is that this may occur even abroad [outside of Israel, both in Land and in direct people, i.e. the Gerim who are attached to Joseph, and are the cause of his often questionable conduct, such that we saw from the Brothers, and as will be pointed out, by Jacob himself].

The exegesis continues within the actual names of Efraim and Menashe, based on the description that Joseph gives when he first conceived of them. It should be noted from the Gematria point onwards this becomes an aspect of Messiah son of Joseph. Thus at this stage we have identified an aspect of redemption itself, involving Gerim, and all that commences hereon after.

When we first meet Efraim, the reader is informed that his name is in reference to despite being born in exile, Hashem nonetheless made him prosper, i.e. "Fruitful and Multiply" – a direct connotation to his name which sounds appropriate in the Hebrew. Menashe on the other hand comes to signify that "God has caused me to forget my suffering/sins of my father's house. By method of analogy, the next piece of the Messianic puzzle that involves Gerim has just fallen into place: fruitful and multiply and eradicating sin/suffering.

The Job of the Messianic process [which as much as it is eventually funneled into a single being, it is still a time and process] is exactly this blend of two-fold when dealing with the Gerim and Redemption. The first stage is to make them fruitful and multiply [it should be noted that this is the first mitzvah in the Torah and can be seen as the composite of the entire Torah], facilitating the entire redemption process and their part of it, to the point of identity and into a self-flourishing people. This would at the very least satisfy the Creator of Creation whose vision was to have a Kingdom of Priests and Light to the Nations. It should be obvious for the need to involve all of Mankind to please the Will of God.

The second phase to this beginning of Redemption [of Gerim] is to eliminate and remove suffering and sinful nature. All of the catalysts of exile are eradicated at this stage, those who seek to capitalize on sinful behavior and the exploitation of the Nations due to their previous fallen state of existence [again, it should be obvious that all of Mankind and every individual whether in the micro or macro have experienced these conditions, Jew or Gentile, religious or secular]. To put this bluntly, all behavior that was acceptable by default in the pre-Naaman stage [idolatrous] would be subject to review, and the individual would be encouraged to incorporate Hashem proper into his life and all that that entails for his successful service of the Lord.

As for the removal of suffering, to be sure that one is to no longer suffer, and benefit from a Torah/Hashem Universe, he would need to incorporate the Sinai moment into his psyche, thus losing all context of an idolater, while coming to terms with being a Ger. At the point of being a Ger, the liberated would then connect with God [Shem (name) Elokim – connoted with Will of God by reason], and become an extended member of Israel; his destiny lies with Hashem and his heart, and is to be encouraged as such. A proper Ger is a type of conversion from idolatry, and all past involvement is in a new light; subjugation, anti-Torah, any suffering and sin-encouragement is a serious crime in the eyes of God, and is seen as an impediment to the redemption…"You shall Love the Ger/Don't taunt the Ger."

For the Jewish involvement, one must be steadfast to serve as a Light to the Nations, even if it means to stand against Amalek as Jacob withstood Esau [and to the extent that if it comes disguised as "good" as Jacob challenged Joseph over his progeny, one must prevail and sanctify God] and define one's honor of involvement as it is God's own.

When Esau who personified Amalek to Jacob in the sense that his momentous murderous attack was in the guise of the evil inclination, such that he sought to emasculate to Jacob from servicing as Yisrael in the name of fathering the destined Twelve Tribes of Israel. The attack came in the guise of a manipulation of God's name, for which Jacob responded with a sanctification of God('s Name) and defeated the attack of Esau. Jacob himself reiterated the wave of doubt, for he brought the same accusation upon Joseph himself, all in the name that perhaps Joseph was somehow blemished, thus guaranteeing destruction for Israel. Joseph, like his father sanctified God in the open, and a precedent was established in the name of Joseph [he who is destined in the future as "Moshiach ben Yosef" to eradicate the personification of Esau] to stand tall in redemption terms over one's own children [even if only spiritual, as were Efraim and Menashe to Jacob].

Such is the Jewish responsibility to the Gerim, to withstand "evil eye" attacks that are orchestrated by stigma and poor education and taste to that which God considers the most holy [making Gerim], and the crucial aspects of redemption. In the work of God, we must know the truth, stand for the truth, and carry out the truth; to the absence of the opposite, reduces an enemy attack into dialogue with God, even if superimposed upon the potentially wicked. In this way, the Redemption will arouse from below, and the Messiah son of Joseph process will witness the Honor of God in Dynamic proactive motion.

Perhaps the only question that could be offered is, why? One answer is quite simple, and is contained in the explanation of Jacob's Blessing to Judah, he who signifies all Jews in the End of Days [which has the same Gematria as Efraim / Menashe 726!] concerning becoming "red-eyed from wine and white toothed from milk." The Midrash answers that the wine gladdens the heart and the milky teeth come not from the consumption of milk, but from the frequent smiles that coordinate with a glad heart. Such an occasion can only take place on Shabbat, where Kiddush brings in Shabbat, and smiles extend forever, as Jews and Gerim usher in week after week together the fact that God – Elokim Created the World; one Mankind, a Shabbat for all.

In closing, "who are these to you," you say – well, these are the Gerim, those destined to be redeemed, return to God, and partake of the Shabbat…can't you tell by the smile that is barely contained by the World of the Ger?

Audio Shiur at 11 P.M. on Vayechi Monday [Tzfat Time]


Anonymous said...

Baruch HaShem!!! Excellent article, Rabbi Katz...

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