My Pen-Pal – The Ger
Rabbi David Katz
May 8 2019
King David Hotel
John just checked in; Getting ready for Shavuot in Jerusalem
Anticipating seeing Ezekiel's Temple – finally built!
Shalom Rav David my Kohen friend! It sure has been a while since we've seen each other, for as you know I haven't been to Israel [obviously then even Jerusalem!] since the days we were learning about Gerim! Who would have thought that some five years later I would be here, in Israel, in Jerusalem – on the Temple Mount – ready to take in the holiday as a real Ger Toshav! [Ariel Sharon would roll in his grave, no?] With that said, I would like to take the time to write you this letter [emails are so pre-redemption, aren't they?!], and let you know my plans and what I've been up to, and how I see [my] the World, one that is seeing the truth merge into our new non-exile reality. After having read this week's Parasha, it was soon realized to me, that what I'm living right now really is reflected in the Parasha – let me elaborate.
First of all, the holidays and Shabbat back in Idaho are simply incredible. Every year, more and more folks are learning how to do them right and authentic. I'll never forget how we learned in the Zohar that the Rabbis learned from Noah that he was the earlier signpost to the holidays in his name and story alone. Noah was meant to show Shabbat from the language "ease labor = Noah", and all of the numbers mentioned in the Parasha in conjunction with the animals were meant to show all of the holidays. Just as the holidays have 2's and 7's so does the Jewish calendar, especially Shavuot for us Gerim living abroad! Just like in Emor, how it covers the entire Jewish year; I learned too, that just after the Parasha mentions the holidays, it goes right into the Menora [Chanuka] and the Show Bread. I thought to myself, you know what, I bet when you think about how the Show bread depicts God's Face in graces, and then it’s the repair to Purim – where God's Face is hidden. And remember, Purim too, is all about a major redemption for Gerim as well, as Rashi states, "Gerim are included in the mitzvah by the word 'nilviim.'" The Ger can be seen as bringing the physicality to the Temple, like the Show Bread represents. Plus its right next to the Menora, which is lit by the High Priest – the connections are obvious and easy and many to make!
So now that we're here, I decided to bring an offering for my family to atone for some things and to give thanks to the Creator. I inspected the animal really well, and you can be sure she's fit and "perfect" – without blemish. I remember too how it was before I was a Ger, as me and some friends [who never became Gerim, but remained Noahides] had always talked about coming to Jerusalem one day, and we used to talk about how the Ger's animal couldn't have blemishes but the regular Noahide could have blemishes, just not missing any limbs God Forbid. It's kind of interesting too, that Rashi defines a Ger this way, "a blemish in you , do not expose in your friend if he has the same blemish, "for you too were strangers in Egypt." So I guess being a Jew or Ger is when you leave the blemishes behind, but are still warned on others, "don't taunt the Ger" [Noahide who is not Ger] – for just because he offers animals with blemishes, we still need to promote World Unity and God Awareness.
So Rav Katz, I wanted to tell you, the business is doing good; like you said, the World needs meat, and the Ger – Jewish relationship is based on meat. It's so awesome that at the Holiday times the Priests give the unkosher [poorly slaughtered] meat to Gerim! [and sold to Nochrim] The World really becomes like a Holy Temple with Priestly meat! I can't help but wonder though; since you Priests deal with unkosher meat [neveilah] don't you ever get confused and eat unkosher meat? I thought of this because the Parasha 22:8 says not to eat it for the reasons of becoming ritually contaminated. I always found it interesting that "eating" it isn't the impurity in concept, but rather it's when the actual meat enters is when it makes the Priest unclean…so be careful Rav Katz! You have all these Gerim and meat distributions, we don't want you to make a mistake! Which reminds me, we are much better off in this Temple with High priests taking the proper Maidens, unlike days of old [like Pinchas, Aaron, Elazar, and Moses] – when it was the permitted intermingling that caused this Temple to be the eternal one..let's not ever forget this!
I want to tell you too what really bothers me back home is the breaches in Noahide Laws. Just like in our Parasha, I see the aftermath of intermarriage and the product of youth that it creates; it isn't always pretty. The biggest crime is the disgrace for the Almighty. I mean, think about it – just like the Parasha says, when we fight, [if] mortally, curse from stolen Torah ideas, intermarry for pleasure, pursue lust, etc. it is bound that we are destined to be a society invested in the harshness of law. Is the case of the blasphemer not a case of acute reality amuck in a World devoid of Godly influence? These laws become the definition of harsh decrees, and do not portray what the Torah wishes to impart on society; Hashem wants righteousness and for all to come to Zion and behold Hashem's Glory in the Temple! I'll never forget what the Vilna Gaon says, "eye for an eye is not literal, for one letter downward each letter spells 'money'" – the Torah has a built-in program of turning judgment into mercy – may it be His will!
So anyways Rav Katz, welcome to my life in Idaho; God is here, but slowly slowly the World is forgetting her old ways, and we are seeing that Light go out from Zion. Life is getting better, and people are going back to normal ways, even though they insist on calling number 2 pencils the ipencil…go figure.
I'm glad to be here my old friend, and I look forward to seeing you and the kids all having grown since last time we got together – you having grown in Torah from the Gerim I'm sure. Life must be good in the Temple, seeing all these people…and I pray for you every day that your Light and all of Israel's Light should only shine brighter and brighter with each passing day. The Jew Ger program really did save the World, and I am honored and glad to have been a part of it. See you soon, enjoy the steak, we are going to try the new hummus this year, it comes from Iran – ever since they went Ger after the big scare in 2015. Lehitraot, and don't taunt that Ger!
Love to all, a man and his neighbor – as one,
Your friend always,
Class Tonight! 11 P.M. Israel Time