Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Le' Chaim Holy Brother!

                                                           Parashas Vayakahel
                                                Covenant [Brit] of [Shalom] Peace
                                                              Rabbi David Katz

The Ger/Noahide Shabbat is a reality that will one day dominate the Seventh Day Worldwide in the Days of the Messiah. Gerim all over the planet will be able to rest, gain spiritual gifts throughout the week, and simultaneously keep the World going better than ever. They are destined to take their gift from the bitter waters of Marah, and turn it into the eternal delight of God's holiest day. This is a big difference from the antiquated party line that echoes death sentences and calls for the blood of the perpetrator of God's Covenant; this is the Covenant of Peace, one that the Bahir sates as, "a great source of Joy for the King." Shabbat is the fractal code that completes creation, and very much a proper covenant; it also just happens to be the first and most essential step in leaving behind what was, and entering the World [of the Ger] that came out of Sinai. In that World, the knowledge of God fills the air, and the World would be deemed as complete; Shabbat then is the motor that drives this mission into fruition.

The pre-present-post Sinai experience and revelation to some extent is an historical banner of the Shabbat. From being commanded and given Shabbat at Marah [pre-Sinai; bitter waters – over the Shabbat, and thus being proven to "the People" how sweet it is, as Moses placed "it" there for "him" as law. "Him" refers to every human there, and the words "placed for him" conveniently spells "Shalom," as the Shabbat is the main focus.], educated in Shabbat through the 10 Commandments, and the entire Mishkan [post golden calf] ensemble is one long strand of the evolution of time into a Shabbat mentality and inclination. One could say in a sense, this is where everyone involved realized and connected to their own innate holiness, something that the Book of Genesis "already knew" from Adam to Seth, Hanoch, Noah, Shem, Avot, and the Tribes. Greater Israel is now ready to take its mantle as the World's flagship in promoting God [Jews and Gerim] through the perpetual holy day in our lives that changes the World – Shabbat.

Our up to date status is our Parasha, for the aforementioned details have led us directly into the Mishkan, which ultimately is the Talmudic [scholastic] definition of Shabbat; a practical and technical approach to responsibly understand the minute details of the Shabbat. The Mishkan was made from thirty-nine creative, thought provoking labors or crafts. These crafts are the same practices by which God created the World; ergo the Mishkan is a microcosm of the World. Now that we are leaving the first half of the Torah in our wake, and soon to progress to actually function in the Mishkan in the Book of Vayikra, now is the most opportune time to explain the inner dimension of the Mishkan, the face of the mission of Israel. The master bolt that holds everything together is the Shabbat, and concordantly we are addressing it now in Vayakahel.

The Parsha takes of these matters into account, without wasting any time, as we are immediately initiated into the concepts of the labors and parameters of the basic and essential Shabbat for the Jews and Gerim. On a profound note, the Torah takes liberty in just three concise verses, to outline the extremely complex issues of the "how to's" of Shabbat, through taking the discussion to a place of sublime simplicity. The text reads as follows, "…these are the things [39 labors] that Hashem commended to do them: 'On six days, you are to do labor [39 –ish], and on the Seventh Day should be for ya'll Holy, a total Shabbat for Hashem; all who engage in Labor [39-ish] shall surely be put to death.' Do not kindle a flame in any of your locations on the Shabbat Day.'" This text may seem straightforward at first glance – either speaking to Jews or Gerim; yet what we find is a classic case of "From the Mouth of God – We heard two/too." We are standing before a perfectly woven tapestry of a simultaneous dialogue, such that we are receiving the tradition of Shabbat for the Ger and Jew in one ear shot! Rightfully so, the Oral Law clarifies these matters, and explains these three verses in laid out terms that anyone alive can find their place in the Shabbat World, and yet remarkably, it all still is sourced right here, in our Parasha's opening words.

The Jew and the Ger, as many know, have two distinctively different streams of the Shabbat; this stems from the Command vs. the Gift. As a Jewish Command, the Jewish People are prohibited in the performance of thirty-nine labors on the Seventh Day. From this level of observance, quite literally an entire culture has been spawned, and accordingly has been the face of the Jewish People practically since the inception of the Mishkan itself. Jewish Orthodoxy goes as far as to say any religious person is defined through "Shomer Shabbos" – a keeper of Shabbat, an objective display of one's place with God. For the Shomer Shabbos Jew, our three verses seem pretty straight forward, and seem to serve as a nice rudimentary introduction or basis of all Shabbat ritualistic behavior. Although this has served many through the perpetuation of time, Israel has a Brother, who also is rooted here – The Ger [Noahide]. As we will see, the other side of the coin equally contains his path, alongside The Jew, yet his is fantastically unique to him and his soul as well.

The Talmud Krisos 9a gives the Torah's most accurate outline of a proper Ger [Toshav] Shabbat. The nature of the Ger Shabbat is one that traverses many planes, namely his turn away from idolatry from adhering to Ger ideals in the Torah and from the Divine Inscription within the Ten Commandments to name a few. In the Talmud it is listed there three categorical decrees of observance [from that of a holiday, intermediary days, and a mundane day – although aware of the Seventh Day], and the Ten Commandments consistently shows the bestowal of the Shabbat gift to the Ger [Toshav, Tzedek – both non-Jews with subtle distinctive differences], an expression of his relationship with the Commanded Jew. Granted there is a level of relative simplicity in the Talmud, however the Ten Commandments offers an endless array of scenarios and logistics, that with creative thought [such as to our "Melacha" of the Parsha – craft/work from creative thought] one can see the true Divine nature of the Shabbat of the Ger.

The Ger Shabbat as brought down astutely in the Parasha has one massive sign post that this is definitely a discussion for the Gerim – the transfer/kindling of fire. The Jewish holidays [not Shabbat] offer a leniency that allows for cooking under the pretext of "soul food" – "allowing the body to benefit," even through normally prohibited measures, such as cooking. In fact, the entire nature of these three verses openly compares and contrasts the Shabbat in face of the holidays, yet the discussion is without question a Shabbat discourse; ergo this is to highlight the participation of the Gerim in Shabbat as brought down in the Talmud.  Throughout the rest of the Parasha the inclusion of the Ger [and on a very serious spiritual inclination] is utterly profound, and there are impressions [such that are appropriately in reference materials] of the magnitude of the Ger in Vayakahel.

Some of the more penetrating ideas and concepts are as follows:  the ability to study the Melachot [creative labors] in order to know how to keep Shabbat [with Jews or as a convert or to develop one's knowledge within the realm of Ger Tzedek], ability to identify the material in both the Oral and Written Torah with Divine predictability, the prominence of the "Ger Code" – concerning the Mishkan/Mikdash dimensions, the concept of Soul Mazal of one's name – such that on Shabbat our Soul/Mazal is more pronounced [the Prophet Is. Ch. 40 details mazal and names, and lists Abraham as the prime example], the concept of perceiving the Shechinah on Shabbat [as the Prophet Is. States 58:13-14], the Kabbalah of the spiritual Worlds in association of the Mishkan and Shabbat, Derech Eretz and hard [allowed] labor on Shabbat [along with Creative thought], and the ability to defeat the evil inclination – while taking one's position in the highest spiritual realm as a rectified being. The vernacular of the Ger and "code" if you will, are the lent vessels in transmitting these precious secrets; perforce the Ger has inherited them.  

We have just gone through many Parshiot that all look the same, when in fact they are all very different. In order, they are as follows: 1) Trumah – post Sinai and commanded in the Mishkan and concept 2) Tetzaveh – the priests who operate such an apparatus 3) Ki Sisa – the episode that called for the Mishkan 4) Vayakahel – the construction itself 5) Pekudei – the receipt. This is the perfect example of cause effect, prophecy and wisdom, and brokering/executing spirituality from a place of power to implementation. Combine this with the Messianic secrets within, such that define Moshiach and the Third Temple, and this is yet another unique hotspot [of Mochin/Intellect] in the Torah.

The Torah has many flavors, whether it is in halacha, midrash, scripture, redemption, characters, plotlines, etc. In Kabbalah the intellect shines through the tools of Pardes [the mystical orchard], and shows exactly what is underneath the Torah on a Divine Level.  However that is all on the sublime microcosmic revelation. If we step back for a change, we can see a vast macro image, and this collage is none other than the Shabbat. To summarize the Parasha, and for that matter life, it all boils down to one thing: repair our souls and have a relationship with God, The Creator. How nice, and even glorious it will be, when Jews and Gerim will sit together, and take in one Universal Shabbat, in a Covenant of Peace….I'll even bring THE gefilte fish if you bring the chrain….הנה מה טוב ומה נעים שבת אחים גם יחד - "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" 

Audio/Visual In-Depth Lesson From Article Wednesday 11 P.M. Tzfat Time!

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