Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Holy Nation

by Rabbi Yaakov Bar Nahman

Emor 5772-5952 [Vayikra/Levit. 21:1-24:23]

The 49 days between the 1st day of Pesach and Chag Shavuoth are a period of spiritual refinement and climbing the spiritual ladder to be ready to really receive the Torah.

"Emor el hacohanim…." [Say to the cohanim]. Our parshah begins with instructions to the Cohanim as to who they are permitted to marry and who not. The majority of the remainder of the parshah relates to more issues of purity for those who serve HaShem, for those who wish to be close to HaShem.

This is actually a continuation of what we have been seeing in the recent parshiot wherein we have had a long series of the necessity for guarding our spiritual purity. It is never excessive to reiterate the absolute to repair and maintain such purity for anyone desiring to get close to HaShem the Holy and Blessed Creator. Such also never too much can be stated the point that for this were we at all brought into this world; that is to strive to reach beyond the material, to refine our spirits and souls, to refine our physical bodies by uplifting it via our souls and get closer to HIM.

Yet to do this correctly and not fall into the traps and morass of the Sitra Achrah, the "dark side", we must watch our spiritual purity. Any lack to do so leaves us open to the temptations, to the wily tricks of entrapment of the Sitra Achra Dark Side forces, and destruction/obliteration.

We have seen this happen to too many. People who do séances, people who do "channeling" who imagine that they are connecting to "angels" but are not guarding spiritual purity are in reality in contact with Dark Side entities disguised as angels or as spirits of deceased humans. The ploy is made all the more believable by their mentioning things known of the very ones they are pretending to be, and/or by making predictions that come true in the near future, or messages that have truth in them. Yet while these poor victims of delusion believe that they are climbing high, that they are being given prophecies or insights, are in actuality being fed for eventual slaughter, for being eventually devoured by those evil entities, and led to Geheinom or worse.

Interestingly though as we see sometimes HaShem will even use such ones as HIS tools for good, when there is no other way to do so in pure vessels.

There is also the point brought so strongly in last week's parshah that even were one who is a good holy person to actually approach the Holy of Holies but have even a seemingly mild form of impropriety, he will be killed by HaShem for it.

All the more so must we understand those who are not so and deem to reach for high contact. All the more so is this true regarding those who use impure cult methods etc. Yes we are required to strive to get closer and closer to HaShem. But it all must be right. Think about it and you will understand that it is only proper and understandable that it must be so.

The end of the parshah relates of man born of a mixed union which is forbidden. The mother was of Bnei Yisrael and the father an Egyptian. He cursed HaShem by HaShem's holy name and so was sentenced to death. Our midrashim show us that he had been a severe trouble maker all along as well. This is a warning against mixed marriages, and that includes the marriages of false converts. By false converts we include those performed by systems [such as the reform and conservatives] that do not follow the true Halakha requirements of the conversion process. The children of such marriages born to a mother of false conversion are in reality not Jews.

Now to show you who may ask ''is this not bigotry?'' let me give you some examples to prove that it is not.

1] A young man born on an anti-religious kibutz after he finished his army stint went to India. He had zero spiritual education of influence in his upbringing and schooling yet his spirit naturally sought spiritual inspiration and growth. He joined into a famous ashram belonging to some famous guru. The method there was to learn to meditate in their mantra methods for a year or more. When the guru felt that the initiate had reached a level beyond the generic meditation he would be called to the guru's private chamber where he would receive a special private mantra to go even higher. This young secular Israeli reached his level and was called.

He entered the guru's room all excited and eager for his special key to higher worlds. The guru permitted him to sit opposite him and said, "You are special. Your spirit is not like the others. There are many who come here from all over the world from many backgrounds, yet none like you. For you the types of mantra I give to the others will not suffice to reach where your soul can reach, higher than all of the others, to the highest levels there are. I must seek for you something extra special, something beyond the normal." He turned and opened a sliding wall panel, closing his eyes he felt around among the items in the hidden closet. "Ah, here … I sense that this is it … this is for you." He pulled out and placed on the low table between them an old piece of parchment and unrolled it. ''I am unable to read this alphabet so I know not what is written. However I feel that you able to read it and that what is written here is your key to higher worlds and your destiny." It was a column of a Sefer Torah and the line the old guru pointed his finger at was "Shema Yisrael HaShem Elokeinu HaShem Ehhad". The young secular Jew almost fainted but realized the truth that was placed before him. He thanked the old guru and quickly made his return to Israel and t'shuvah. Today he is a fully religious man, married and raising a fine observant family.

Here this spiritual "master" of a foreign nation and belief system told the young Jew that he was of a special breed whose source and path are higher than any other nation. 

2] Another young Jew, though this time one partially observant, was in India to seek spirituality. While he had been given some basis of Jewish custom and halakha, he had never received knowledge of the vast and wonderful worlds of spirituality there are in real Judaism. One day in a budhi monastery he took a fruit and as he had learned made the blessing before eating and took a bite. Immediately one of the senior monks there ran over to him highly excited and asked, "What did do just do?" The Jew taken a bit aback by the approach replied "Nothing, I just took a bite of the fruit."
"No not the bite, what did you do before you bit it?"
"Why, why do you ask such a question? What happened?"
"Shortly after you took hold of the fruit just before you bit into it the halo of the fruit raised several levels of spiritual power! I have been striving for 50 years to find how to do this! How did you do it?"
"Higher level halo? I don't know what you are talking about. But all I did was to say the blessing that we Jews say before eating a fruit."
The monk was amazed and told him, "Your elders are of the wisest of all men ever born to have found and taught such a way, and your souls are from a source so high, that even a simple one as you could achieve such an accomplishment, and yet without having any idea of what you are doing!"

3] A Jew was in a forest in the USA wandering about enjoying the nature, taking the opportunity of the clean air, the freedom from the hubbub of the city to talk to HaShem. It was near sundown so he prayed the Minhha [afternoon prayer] there in the forest. When he opened his eyes after the Amidah [standing silent prayer] he saw an old Amerindian sitting on the ground a few meters from him, staring at him in amazement. The Jew finished the prayer service and sat down near the still motionless Amerindian and asked, "Who are you and what so affects you from me?"

"I am a medicine man of the Creek nation. Know that we are not like the ones of the people of nations not yours you know in the cities. The Great Spirit has certain demands of us, more so than from them, just as surely HE does even more so from your people. I was walking in the forest when I heard a joyous singing of holy spirits. I followed their voices and so arrived at this small clearing where we now sit. I saw the lights of the holy spirits dancing around you and heard their rejoicing. I saw a glow around you growing, changing colors and reaching high into the sky, beyond the sky. I saw that you are of the nation of the prophecy of the 4th crow, the prophecy of the correction and redemption of the entire world, of the final conquest of truth against evil and falsehood. Know that the nations of the evil spirit will hunt and hate your people for this and from their jealousy for your father-son relationship to HIM. May the Great Spirit bless and guard you and your people. Please bless me and then go in peace."

Okay folks put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.

"Emor el hacohanim" and "tihyu li am cohanim" and "Kedoshim tihiyu ki Kadosh ani"; "say to the cohanim" and HE also told all of us to "be unto ME a nation of cohanim", and "Be holy for I am holy".


Leah said...

Beautiful! What a way to connect on the internet after Shabbos! Thanks, Devorah.

yaak said...

These are amazing stories. Rav Bar Nahman, what is the source of these stories? Do you know these people personally?

Tali said...

These were fabulously inspiring and intriguing stories.

I'd like to echo comment #2's question.

The point about forbidden relationships was a good one. Although for many upstanding converts to Judaism, being brought up by a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother was the way they found Torah, many terrible people are also products of such a relationship (and then are presented as having "Jewish blood" even though they are not Jewish at all!), like Torquemada and some suspect Hitler.