Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Just the Facts Ma' am" - Dragnet (Crime Drama series in the 60's)

I am not going to share any of our thoughts as to what to make of the following information nor what the Holy Rabbi we spoke to thought. I will just share the information as I see it right now. If you have other questions, angles, thoughts please share them with me (
I will start with the broadest context so have patience. I apologize in advance if you find the following post on the tedious side and not nearly as interested when I express my kishkas but they are my thoughts to share just the same and the building blocks to my deeper thoughts and ideas. As you start to read if you feel nonplussed just pick it up tommorow. Thanks Mike

Shoshie's petira occurs in the book of Yayikra (Levitiscus). (The 3rd Book of the 5 Books of Moses -Our Bible) This book comes after the book of Bereshis (The 1st of the 5 Books of Moses) which is about the lives of our fore-fathers and mothers and their greatness as individuals. This book teaches us about their characteristics for us to emulate and philosophical outlooks to embody. Next comes Sefer Shemos which is about a group of individuals and their families (the 12 tribes - the children of Yaakov and their children) and their blossoming into what we call today the Jewish people. Our nation was born out of Egypt and our shared experience (of servitude, slavery and bitter oppression) prepared as "one people" to leave Egypt (Passover) and receive God's instructions on Mount Sinai (Shavuot) to receive God's instructions. It is in this book, that we are chosen for a mandate to be: "A holy nation", "a light to all nations" and Hashem's special children. Our undisputed tradition for over 3,000 years was that our entire nation of 6 million; men, women and children all stood at Mount Sinai and personally experienced God's presence, collectively together, in their bodies for the first two of the 10 commandments. It is very hard to make up a claim that 6 million all experienced the same event at the same time, someone is going to say that it didn't happen and have a competing story. For over 3,000 years there was no dispute, disagreement or versions as to what happened at Mount Sinai not even to Christians or Muslims. It is in this book that we are introduced to Hashem's special dwelling place on earth that would serve as miniature replica for the Jewish people to serve and experience God's presence on earth as the commandment says “Make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell in them”– this is the Mishkan. (also called the tabernacle and later named the Temple) ... a continuation of the experience at Har Sinai. The rest of Shemos deals with the items that we will serve God in the Mishkan the details of how they are made, where they go and our leaders who serve there. Finally, the book of Vayikra is all about how we are to serve God, how we enable ourselves to receive God's divine presence in our lives, how we as individuals and as a nation can lead hallowed lives (kodesh-Holy) and how we are supposed to utilize the focal, rally place point of Mishkan (portable tabernacle) to accomplish this. All in all, in short, this book is really where we begin to take over the reigns in taking responsibility for the holy mission that we have been entrusted. It is no accident that Shoshie passed away while the Jewish nation was holding in the book of Vayikra.

Shoshie's passing particularly occurred during a double Parsha Torah portion) of Acharay Mos -Kidoshim. Literally it means "after the death" - "Holy" (in the plural) . Literally the only Parsha with the name of "death" in it is "Acharay Mos". Who died? Aharon's sons. What does it say right after that? "in their coming close to God, they died". (of course a lot of explanation needed) However, they did that when they were alive in this world. Maybe there is another world where that can happen. It says that this world that we live in could be considered a night between two days. Which is the real world? Maybe this has something to do with a vow,a promise, a swear that a 12- 12 1/2 year old girl made (see yesterdays post about the book flying off the shelf). Only maybe- this is very speculative. Her passing away Parsha was also Kedoshim. It starts out as the following " Speak to the congregation of the children of Israel and say unto them " Be Holy, for I am Holy, I am Hashem your God". (The next pasuk/line sets us the major foundation of how to do this, it says "fear your mother and father and keep my Sabbaths, I am Hashem your God). The cornerstones of learning obedience, self control, self discipline of how to do what you truly, truly want and live up to your moral and ethical calling.

Rabbi Shamshon Rafael Hirsch in his commentary on Parshas Kedoshim teaches us that all the preceding Torah portions in the book of Vaykira are leading us up to the mandate of "be holy". He says that the word of God (as represented by the luchos -the 10 commandments in the Holy of Holies within the Mishkan ) are represented in the physical world by the instruments in the Mishkan and the service of God by the offerings. (Parshas Vayikra, Tzav). This is designed to bring God's presence down. But as the original Pasuk says "build me a sanctuary so I can dwell in them, how do we become a holy vessel to receive the divine presence inside of us?. The immediate 3 Parshas before Kedoshim ( Shoshie's last) are Metzora-Tazria, Shemini, and Acharay Mos. What I see in those Parshas are the foundational ingredients (a holy diet) that need to be instilled and nurtured within are the concepts of; what comes out of our mouths, what comes into our ears, what we put into our mouths, and what psychical intimacy do we have with who, when and under what conditions. It happens to be that since the Jewish people have such a favorable attitude towards enjoying the psychical realm, it is no coincidence that the most Jewish laws in our law book have to do with eating and sexual intimacy. The negative commandments of Loshon Hara, Kashrut and Arroyos (illicit sexual relations) are the building blocks of holiness and must be in place as we take the commandments seriously to refine our character- the goal of which is to be like God.

I am sorry if you found this dry- they are the thoughts I have had that I wanted to share and the prerequisite before we get to deeper stuff.


1 comment:

  1. I found this really fascinating. (I meant to tell you so since I heard you say them over briefly on Shavuos but haven't had a chance...). Interesting to see what the Torah holds as prerequisites for holiness. Compelling too.