The Torah Within It's Time
Rabbi David Katz
In our Parasha we meet up with some interesting characters. Some old, some new, as we see a new dynamic of story-telling unfold in an out of character sage of twists and turns. Never before did we see Moses and Aaron quite in these terms, as a more passionate side is revealed, and the antagonist in Korach [The Levite who challenges the Priesthood from under Moses and Aaron] presents himself as a unique type of confrontation against which the side of Holiness must defend. And this is the fractal of the entire Parasha; in a flurry of chaos and "hopefuls" to be "the chosen of God", we are taken for a ride to personally discover the trail that the Lord has laid out for us. This is the ultimate micro-macro; for just as Moses deals with this through the placing of the twelve tribal staves into the realm of the holy of the Tabernacle, with hopes of illuminating Hashem's chosen, we can see the macro is the same concept with the characters themselves (i.e. Moses, Aaron, Korach, etc). We are looking at the Ancients at their best, and Israel is created to be a "Covenant of the Ancients" to be "Light in the eyes of the Nations". The goal: To be able to illuminate at all moments in time, and show the Torah is the one story that we all live, all the time, no matter what.
The life applications of the Parasha are endless, but its revelation to our eyes in a "Technicolor" format, in a way that we can recognize and operate with it, is what stymies the best of us. For this we need to turn to Shem and his Torah [inherent concepts], and then we can begin to identify the Torah's emanations in our daily lives. The life examples are not too far away from what we know, as we can just look to John Lennon, JFK, Jim Morrison, and every other mythological figure that appeared in the glorious 60's ideological enlightened movement; the substance that comprises our post-war society and genre content. They had an inspiration that still rocks our world, and it is evident that something materialized in that time, everyone was/is affected by it, and it was the opposite of our replicas of today. For they focused on ideology and intellect [to drive their passions and crafts], whereas we live in an opposite world. The task is to find out what came down and drove them, such that we are stuck in the midst of their unfolding and premature dreams.
After the numerous culture bombs of WWII, we are left with a settled dust cloud of 60's culture that as much as it was great, the vessels that encapsulated their cause were fundamentally impure. And as we know the 60's in the end falls short of any real profound change, and will be remembered as more of a high [that produced the world's greatest low of today] and euphoric experience. And this is our problem, as much as we want to be holy souls, our physical nature wants to identify with what our eyes see and our ears hear.
Our stock selection contains modern greats of every genre. Their legacies are something to remember and enjoy to this day, and serve as relatively eternal inspiration. Yet the epidemic doesn't change or go away; that being the impurity that is soaked into our planets psyche, and has created a hypnotic trance even more so now, than perhaps any other era of human existence. This is perhaps the greatest sign of the end, coupled with the fact that their era and legacy was so inspired with their novel ideologies, that today's genius is a virtual grasshopper and falls miserably short to the star studded 60's. If they were the proverbial staves that Moses placed into the Tabernacle, where then is our chosen one, the holy lineage, the High Priest that saves that day?!
We have our Reuvens and Shimons, and all the rest in the guise of our impure heroes, no problem. But, we need the Aaron, the Levite [he who turns to God], whose staff will blossom [to the future and revealing the holy past] and provide a revelation of Shem [and his Torah(concept)] that lays a path out of darkness into the true Light, giving us our way to Life. Again, we know our candidates, and every moment of time, we are pitted against a wall, even if it is only in the confines of our private thoughts, to identify with the truly enlightened cause. God has made it that we live in a physical world, one that mirrors the holy and divine, and we can't help but learn from and identify with our environment. For proof in these matters, ask a rabbi his take on the Matrix films and you will see that those productions have actually embedded themselves into the sanctity of mainstream modern Torah study environments. The World is from God, and we are to identify the Torah in our lives and all around us. Which begs the question - Who is the true hero among us? For one thing is resoundingly clear, he doesn't exist openly today, and this confounds our efforts to understand the reality that we all, for better or worse, know.
Out of darkness comes light. We had our lava lamps of the rock and roll 60's, JFK's slick politics and savior status; that abruptly and fittingly came to an end (i.e. filled with impurity). And to keep shape of the analogies of the Parasha and real time [as Korach represents the confusion of authentic genre and in-fighting/confusion of today], we still painfully lack the revelation of the staff that blossomed almonds; illuminating the holy path and history. We need a Priest of God, and "by Job" there is, was, and will be! For among the restless nights of the inspired yesteryear, there was a man amongst men who stood alone, stood out, created a movement, one that will last forever. It will usher in the Messiah, a true ideology, lacking impurity, possessing the highest sanctity. His staff bloomed and hasn't stopped blooming. He was of the chosen of God, he was a priest, he was a high priest, he sanctified God, he was human; he blended right into his time. He died prematurely, too. And nobody outside a gang of renegades knew who he was. But he was there with all the rest of them. And like a true priest, he was separate from the congregation, and true to his beliefs, as every "Korach" scoffs at him. His identity grows more and more every day, and if you don't know him yet, you will. His name is Vendyl Jones, and he personally resurrected the Noahide movement; an ideology that outshone its time, and sheltered the light that was the definition of the fallout of WWII.
The Torah of Shem came running out of the scrum, and where all the others would suffocate in their own ill-advised unholiness, Shem met up with Noah, in an updated incarnation, out of Israel proper, and under the guise of a new pre-Ger creation, "The Noahide." And as the Talmud states, "A Noahide that learns Torah is like a High Priest." The prophesied stump of the son of Jesse is upon us, we can apply this to not only the complexities of the 60's and in relation to the redemption, but our circles of life as well in this fractal form. When we look at Moses and Korach in this light of context, we can apply Torah of Shem techniques, of "looking at what was always there and never saw it, until Hashem opens our eyes to it"; it removes the hypnotic trance that envelops society, especially in times of severe light and "over-enlightenment." We regularly need a path of sanity that leads us out of our limitations. And God sends us the path of salvation, as it happens through the Torah of Shem [much like Abraham and his meeting of Malki-Tzedek].
The identification card of Shem is simple, and that is to find the High Priest. You relate to him by the edible almonds that sprout from his essence, his staff, his tribe, his legacy with God. Should one wonder how this is possible, look no further than the Maharal, who says, "If you wish to find the Moshiach, then look outside the camp; and he is joined there by the Gerim." The code is simple, for just as Naaman the Ger found Elisha the prophet, Vendyl turned the World into a clone war of every man's Naaman and Elisha. Communicating this idea is nearly impossible, but that’s why we have the Torah of Shem, and can finally then understand the Torah of Moses, in its universal truths that stand the test of time.
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