Tazria / Metzora ~ Aish Kodesh 04/23/09
- RHT-0304, RHT-0000, Baal teshuva, sparks, vessels, darkness, Rabbi Hiyya, fourth commandment, linear and metaphorical, Gog and Magog, sukkah, lamp, midrash, gap learning, Nadav and Abihu, helpful opposition, Moses, Aaron, Purim, David, Akiva, Shmah, Uzza, Esther, Elisha ben Abuya, Pardes, synthesis
The Bal Teshuva (master of return, the non-observant Jew who becomes observant) journeys into the dark space. When we find a spark, it is like a fertilized egg, akin to the Israelites multiplying tremendously in Egypt and like Creation. The vessels shattered because they could not contain the light; out of one spark comes the whole universe.
One out of five Israelites left Egypt, 5 million died in the darkness of Mitzrayim. To the linear mind, this means physical death. To the non-linear mind, it may have been spiritual death or assimilation. 6 million Jews have assimilated in the U.S.
Sacred Fire page 268 The student came to Rabbi Hiyya and asked why in the Ten Commandments it says it is good to honor your parents so you will have a long life. Rabbi Hiyya replied that he did not know if the word GOOD was even mentioned. Rabbi Hiyya without a doubt knew exactly what words were in the Ten Commandments. He was saying that he did not do things based on a reward system and therefore he could not teach that system; he could teach only according to his understanding. One system, halachah (law), is linear, while the other system, midrash (oral tradition), is poetry and metaphor. Aggadita is drawing something from the heart. Gemora Brachas Chapter 1, page 10A2.
Sacred Fire page 271 bottom
We have command over sleep and we can take control of our habits with choices. What we think is a normal way of reacting is twisted and weird because we grew up in the world of deficits.
Can you extinguish a lamp in the room of a sick man? The soul is called a lamp. To the linear part of the mind, a lamp is a lamp. When we light a candle to look for the chumatz, we say that G*dâs candle is manâs soul. Soul light is different than real light; e.g., the darkness in Egypt was really an overabundance of light. There is an illumination in the soul in the search for chumatz. Xtianity and Reform Judaism reject the midrashim, the oral tradition, the poetry, the analogy. (TRF: Kings uphold the law, and they are at odds with the prophets, who come from the wilder world of midrash.)
GAP LEARNING. Why did Davidâs rejoicing for deliverance from Absolom precede his rejoicing for deliverance from Shaul? The juxtaposition of paragraphs in Torah is gap learning. Positioning is significant and a teaching is derived from the proximity. We have to create a synthesis of meaning from the space between the ideas. (The Mishkan was the house for the Ark and the essence was the space between the cherubim, where G*dâs voice emanated.) Synthesis is not compromise, where each becomes lessened; it is integrity, where each becomes greater.
GOG means roof and MAGOG means no roof. If your house does not have a roof then it is a sukkah and you are vulnerable. Yet Sukkot is the holiday of our greatest joy and most light. Joy comes from abandoning security and expectations. When we cover our vulnerabilities we are suffocating ourselves.
When Moshe was editing the Torah he took out the events which happened between the Akeida and Sarahâs death. He wished to place the Akeida right next to Sarahâs death in order to protest the smug saying that G*d never gives us more than we can bear. But G*d gives out perfect justice. (TRF: Maybe we cannot bear perfect justice.) The Luchos (tablets) are justice, and they were broken when they came near the Golden Calf. When Elisha ben Abuya reached a very high level he lost his hope, his faith and himself.
The Torah offers us the elixir of life and the poison of death; you cannot have one without the other. The world is a sukkah and life is risky. We are trying to destroy failsafe categories. This is why three of the people who entered the Pardes (the origin of the English word Paradise) were destroyed. Study and mediation do not guarantee success in this risky world.
Sacred Fire page 270 A mystery is a personal revelation and it cannot be taught.
One idea, that G*d pays the wicked in this life in order to punish them in the World To Come, is opposed to another idea, If you do what I say, I will send rain in its proper time. In the darkest place you can find G*d, even in the Warsaw Ghetto. This is teshuva, returning the darkness back to light.
Shmini, Chapter 10, page 588 Stone Chumash Three things happen in this parsha: Nadab and Abihu die after bringing an alien fire to the altar, Moshe gets angry at Aaron, and the laws of kashrute are discussed. Why were these things positioned near each other? (This is in the Book of Vayikra, the Book of the Kohanes. The Xtians changed the name to Leviticus, the Book of the Levites.) Nadav and Abihu were the best and the brightest and sacrificed those close to Him. When Moshe and Aaron were unable to bring down the fire to light the permanent flame, Nadav and Abihu drank alcohol and became fervent and brought down the fire. (TRF: Their bodies were unable to contain the energy of the fire, which burned them. This is similar to the breaking of the vessels at Creation. It also reminds me of Uzzaâs dying from touching the Ark in this weekâs haftorah.) Nadav and Abihu got into an insular world. CONNEGGED means against. Man should leave his mother and cling to his wifeâs helpful opposition. Nadav and Abihu were unmarried and did not consult their teachers or each other. The three who were destroyed after entering the Pardes were unmarried; Rabbi Akiva, who was married, survived. (Rabbi Akiva and his wife were apart physically but were united emotionally. He was angry at his parents for not educating himâthey were converts from a society which did not put much emphasis on education. A brilliant mind with no words is like a prison. He watched water dripping on a rock, slowly wearing the rock away, and realized that Torah could make one change. He began his studies at the age of 40.
In the counting of the omer, we are starting the week of Teferet. Nadav and Abihu broke through a limitation and brought the fire. Teferet is the synthesis challenge.
Moshe models having helpful opposition via Yitro, who told him to set up judges, his wife, and HaShem, in the matter of his sonâs bris. A critical step is staying connected, asking open questions, note tumay and tahara. Today is the love that is necessary for balance.
Shalom is two, a half-shekel.
The father of Elisha ben Abuya wanted him to be like the Talmud kacham who brought down fire when they studied.
Stone Chumash page 1168, the haftorah juxtaposes the incident with Uzza with this parshah.
We have to move from the Tree of Knowledge to the Tree of Life.
What themes are shared by the parsha and the halftorah and where are the differences? The same: Uzza, Nadav and Abihu died by the fire of HaShem. Different: David moved from anger to fear to joy. He kept the Ark in place until he figured out how to transport it differently. How do you go from anger to fear? Remove puffiness and get centered, not wanting abandonment.
When Moshe said his students made him who he was, it was a big step.
(TRF: The House of Abi-Nadab is mentioned at the beginning of the parsha.) This is not a subtle clue that what happened to Uzza and what happened to Nadav and Abihu are connected.
Queen Esther: when a person does her best in a difficult situation, it is as good as it gets. Abraham kept notes in his pocket. One note reminded him that G*d made the world for him and the other note reminded him that he was dust and ashes. Esther accomplished what Moshe and David and everyone else for the previous 1,000 years had not been able to do: receiving the Torah.
The Aish Kodesh could say that G*d was not hidden and was in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Fear of G*d: Bad choices lead to bad consequences. G*d made a natural consequence for every choice, not a world of magic. When the world spins out of control, there is collateral damage. When a group makes a bad decision, as in war, even the righteous can get hurt.
If Nadav and Abihu had not been insular and if they had not been drinking, how could they have brought the fire down and lived? David moves to simche/gladness. He moves the Ark by slaughtering an ox every six paces. He connected with the common people, removing his shirt and dancing with them.
Tales of the Baal Shem: the teacher can teach the Merkova only to someone who already knows about it.
The critical word of the Torah is Shmah. SSSHHHâMMMMMM-AAAH! This is deep listening. When you have power, you are in the greatest danger because power is intoxicating. Shmah means hearing but not with understanding. When you do that, you get intoxicated with your own talent. It demands the emptiness of all faculties. BITUL HA AISH. It frees us from preoccupation, obsessive, looping. Become empty of preconceived notions.
Signs of a divided mind are competition (this v. that). Shalom means joining, ECHOD, the product of wrestling with G*d.
The highest level of Purim is drinking until you do not know. The highest level of Pesach is the child who does not know.
When they found leprosy, they tore down the walls of the Canaanite houses and found gold. The Aish Kodesh said there was no gold in the walls in the Warsaw Ghetto, but his manuscript was found in the rubble.
Counting the omer one step at a time. Bringing the Ark back one step at a time bâsimcha. Bâsimcha: people can be so numb that they can enter into a risky situation and not feel fear.
Aaron was silent like the earth, like the blood, when his sons died. The Aish Kodesh also had to put grief aside for joy.
The critical thing on Shabbos is to step criticizing. Nothing is harder.
Rabbi Henoch Dov teaches in Denver, Colorado. You can contact him through his web page, www.RabbiHenochDov.com or via email email@example.com.
- 2009-05-01 03:34:42
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