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Educated Resources: Understanding How Life is Precious
Rabbi David Katz
can make a solid argument against the Torah's naysayers, that the ancient
wisdom invested within her holy ink is actually more relevant in today's Google
Universe, than in the days of Moshe Rabbeinu himself. As bombastic as this
claim is, and as not entirely true as it may be, there is a truth to this. In
fact, what we are after as a People is not the dogma contained in draconian
religious practices, rather the Torah's brilliance in our current model of
society. Fate does come with a sense of irony however, for it seems the further
we drift away from Sinai's echo, the more the Torah fills the layman [un-Moses]
man was destined for greatness; while his standard for "honor" is
wasted, his ability to grasp Hashem's precious ways shall serve as Mankind's
path to eternity. What makes this possible, is our ability to recognize that
which is precious, and our current civilization specializes in just that. In a
World that has forgotten its Torah, what else is would there be?
summarize the current state of affairs, the Torah is gone, we have nice stuff,
and we are left with empty religious practices that promise us more Torah,
better stuff, and greater religion in a World that is portrayed as just a
slightly better place [albeit more fantastic] than our current abode.
of the Torah's agencies of greater living as per the Mitzvot, is obvious instruction
of better practical living. Contrast this particular theme with that of
"how to bring a sin-offering" and we can begin to see at least two
running story lines in basic "Mitzvah-theory" - there is practical,
every day mundane living, and alongside it is the holier side of the equation;
religion proper. Being that the true religion contained within Torah is not
practiced in its normative way today, the default has gravitated toward an
emphasis on character refinement and quality life with merit and blessing.
mitzvah that entails all of the latter, is the esteemed command to honor one's
mother and father. To do so is promised merit and blessing, and one need not
think too long for the obvious ethical gain in its proper performance. Yet this
is where the limitations of a frail human mind causes the divine soul to
starve, for questions of reality, worth, value, practicality, purpose, and
every other type of existential angst pollute the common sense of the
practitioner and places preventative measures on an otherwise blazed trail. The
destination never changes, as we trek along through time hoping to achieve a
state of normal, but oddly, we always seem to end up boldly going where no man
has gone before.
mitzvah to honor one's father and mother is one of the Ten Commandments and is
coupled with an enigmatic signature, claiming that should one successfully find
honor, he or she will have a length of days on the Land that Hashem gives. Most
often, when people recall this mitzvah, the detail of longevity does not come
up, it is thought to be strangely simple to perform [which is then a cause to
exclude as being deemed not important or inadequate for further research], and positive
Biblical precedent is not even a consideration.
that this is a major component when analyzing Israel's main antagonists in the
Torah, with cliché enemies such as Esav and Yishmael, who rose to prominence
through their persistent honor given to Abraham and Isaac respectively, Torah
observance through Judaism expects one to just know/do it - and move on about
your living. If only it were so simple, perhaps The Land of Israel would be
permanently inhabited and occupied with the Third Temple as promised!
the purist who seeks the truth and does not loathe the commandments, the Torah
offers a complete system that allows one to fully connect with original intent
of the precept of how/when/who/etc. to properly honor and in a healthy way.
Between the Talmud's explanation and discourse on the subject [Kiddushin 31a]
along with the episode of Noah's debasing and revenge through the episode of
Noah and his three sons [Genesis Noah 9:20-27], anyone can grasp the true
these terms the religious element will yield to spiritual development. For one
should not seek to honor from a position of moral obligation [that can prove to
become an antithetical endeavor], rather from the reality of the opportunity
for real evolutionary enlightenment. When this precept is performed properly,
the vessel of the mitzvah stands to shine under the light of the truly precious
image that God designed and engineered into the fabric of the Torah, reality,
and our [created] consciousness. The longer our loved ones are increasingly welcomed
into our lives, they become the channel of the ancient wisdom that displays
itself through the intimacy of the pre-existing family relationship. In other
words, this becomes the Matriarch / Patriarch program. And one must not
remember - "length of days on the Land where you reside"; this occurs
in the same way as the transfer of Blessing from Malki Tzedek [Shem] and
Abraham. Stop and consider this.
path to prosperity within this Mitzvah is found on the path of its refinement.
If "honor" is wheat, we must
struggle to make the bread.
first step in this process is to turn to the sources that extend out from the
Torah, and serve to illuminate her words. We have already identified a little
bit of this process, by recognizing the Torah's sister story to this in Noah
and sons along with the Talmud. However the quickest spark plug in the creative
process is to stay on the page and look into the peripheral; the Torah is never
without tools of commentary - each serving a specific and subjective function.
The results should be an objective model of the CURRENT UNIVERSE.
on location with our honor decree, one can easily turn to the standard Aramaic
translation of "honor" [Onkelos; dictionaries serve to help crack the
nut]. There he removes the biased party lines of 'honor' and replaces the
context by means of proper translation: from pre-conceived notions of 'honor' we
arrive to 'precious.' Suddenly we stand before a slightly new premise, to hold
our parents as precious commodities in our lives. The Torah just shifted from
its ethical playground of self-righteous beliefs, and the hidden light reveals
itself through a lens of sublime reality. As fast as 'the one who changed your
diapers' flies out the window, we stand before the divine revelation of
patriarchal testimony of the mysteries of life AND IT'S INHERITANCE STRUCTURE.
Talmud gives account of the nature of the mitzvah in its state of revealed
light, by defining that which is truly precious. In the words of the Rabbis,
precious is that which comes from a place of dignity, and remains dignified, not
having been trespassed by the breeches of indignation and evoked cruelty by
life's own standards. Simply, put, do not rob a person of his honor; and in
even simpler terms - do not treat someone as an ISIS victim on any parallel
[physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc.] level ever. Hence, one is to
arrive at having a constant state of preciousness in their family life at all
times, and in life and death. The Torah is eternal and its message stays in memory
moral of the story is best displayed in the precious moments that we share with
Noah and sons. Not only do their actions display the ancient definitions we
seek, but Jafeth the son of Noah actually hits the nail on its head best, for he
achieved a unification with the ambiguous dictum of "length on land"
that signatures the commandment on location.
Noah lands on the new world's soul, he strangely debases himself through the
planting of a vineyard and subsequently consuming its conscious shifting
properties. The Torah makes a figurative account of the events that ensued, for
his son Ham tampered with the naked state Noah [A sign of lacking honor; and
more specifically harming that which was most precious to Noah his father. This
is shown explicitly in the curse that comes upon Ham's lineage] and Shem [who
became Malki Tzedek - and thus re-iterated this wisdom through Abraham in their
mutual rise to Patriarchal leadership] understood the Torah in its most
profound state, and thus simply displayed the proper action to restore cover to
Noah his father. The readers are without any trail of how Shem came to this
conclusion to avenge what was left of his father's precious dignity.
hero of the story is the third son of Noah, Jafeth [which is fitting, for he
would become the Patriarch to Ancient Greece, a culture famed for its portrayal
of heroism]. When the Torah's narrative picks up with Shem covering his
father's nakedness, and Ham is clearly on the sidelines of despair and guilt, Japheth
is on location in assisting Shem. Immediately after salvation, the story goes
into hyper focus through Noah's blessings and curses to the sons of Noah; this
would serve as their eternal legacy [as Man] and the Torah takes liberty to
capitalize in its literary display of events to teach countless insights into
receives the Blessing from Noah to remain steadfast in his relationship with
Hashem, for he inherits the Tents of Shem." In Torah tradition, this is
mastery of Torah, the mission of [creating] Israel [hence Abraham was destined
to connect himself to Shem; another revelation of turning honor into precious],
and to prepare the World for Torah. As we will now see, Jafeth will fully merit
cooperation with Shem in reward for his involvement with this precious deed he
Ham is cursed by Noah stating that "cursed is Canaan" - the
descendants of Ham, it is interesting to note the original Land of Israel was
referred to as "The Land of Canaan"; later this would become the Land
of Israel. It is here we learn of the fate of Jafeth, for Canaan would be a
servant of his descendants as well.
name can mean "to make beautiful" and this often a testimony to
Greece's legacy it left on Mankind. However his name literally means to
"be extended" and he was, for Jafeth was extended into eternity for
being promised a share in the Tents of Shem - as promised by Noah. Simply put, Jafeth was given a longevity in
the Land that God will place him, the Land of Torah. Apropos to this, it was
Ham's curse that appropriated this Land to both Shem, Jafeth, and essentially
to the Torah Universe. Through Jafeth's precious actions, his name would
signify all that he stands for through his prophetic and holy name.
honored Noah, but more importantly we see through his hand what that means.
Jafeth has shown more than perhaps anybody in Torah history what honoring one's
matriarch/patriarch looks like: honor the precious state of existence. In the
end, that which is the most precious, will yield the most precious. God has one
thing in this world, and that is Zion and the Land of Israel.
He make His permanent abode there, and per force in our day and age [as opposed
to the normative Biblical feel to reality] the Divine Wisdom mandates that this
is achieved through the Mitzvah of Honoring one's parents, and is displayed
through the sons of Noah along with the details of the Talmud [the Talmud's
account was through agency of the Non-Jew, keeping pace with the overall theme,
that precious consciousness comes from outside of one's self].
Torah does not ask for nomadic honor or a system to ensure it; the Torah
reminds you of what is eternally precious, and attempts to continuously grace
you with its invaluable ancient wisdom that comes from having simply been born
to those who brought you into this World. For one may be wise, but the precious
value of yesterday will always be delivered from those who were there to give
birth to God's ongoing story of Creation.
Two reasons the Ger Toshav exists today.
By Chaim Clorfene
Every shlomazel that you meet today who wants to talk about new directions in the Noahide movement, will shoot out at you as if with a paintball gun: “The Rambam says there is no Ger Toshav today and that we cannot accept them until the Jubilee Year is reactivated.” Lacking the patience to discuss the matter with these mean-spirited umpa-lumpas, I just tell them wait a couple of months, because a book is coming out that explains it all. It is called The World of the Ger. But I realize that two months is a long time to wait, so I thought I would try to explain it succinctly and simply now to relieve tension in some circles.
This is strictly lishma. We will probably lose a few book sales because of this, but I do not give a fadoodle. So what do I do when someone tells me that the Rambam says there is no Ger Toshav today? I turn to the guy standing next to me and tell him, “Fred, the Rambam says you do not exist. Go hide under a carpet or something.”
Reason Number One for the Ger Toshav existing today:
The head of the baby has emerged from the womb; it is forbidden to cut it off. There are Noahides everywhere who consider themselves Gerim and call themselves Ger. It is a fait accompli. The final hammer blow has been struck. These people call themselves Ger the way a Lubavitcher calls himself Lubavitch or Chabad. The Lubavitcher (as with other Chasidim) has traded his individual identity for his place in the collective Lubavitcher identity. His world is the world of Chabad. He learns what they learn. He is comfortable with his fellow Chabadniks to the exclusion of others. He builds their kind of sukkah and conducts their kind of Pesach Seder, and holds to party line opinions concerning every aspect of Jewish life. So it is with the Ger. He sees himself as Ger, rather than a Ger because he has attached himself to the Torah as a Chasid. His is a Ger world. This is why the Rambam calls B’nai Noah who follow the Seven Laws of Noah Chasidei Umot HaOlam, literally Chasidim from the nations of the world.
Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum refers to them as tinokei sh’nishba – abducted infants. If these fledgling Gerim are liberated and empowered as is the shitta of Rabbi David Katz (the spiritual archaeologist who dug deeply enough to find the Ger), then the Gerim will accomplish great things for G-d, the Torah, and the Jewish people. We can say without reservation that in the Ger, Israel has a friend among the nations, a friend whose constancy can be relied upon.
There are some rabbis who want to limit this potential for accomplishment. Instead of placing their finger on the pulse of the Ger, they place their finger on the pulse of someone who has not had a pulse for 850 years. Today is not the today of the Rambam! Duh.
There are great authorities of today and yesterday who hold that the Ger Toshav exists even without the Jubilee Year. Now, to learn who these great authorities are, I am afraid you will just have to wait until The World of the Ger is available for purchase online. I have a right to make a living.
Reason Number Two for the Ger Toshav existing today:
It says Ger Toshav nowhere in the Torah. Ger Toshav is a rabbinic term. By the same token, it says Ger Tzedek nowhere in the Torah. But the Torah names the Ger sixty times and with respect to most of these times, the Noahide Ger sees this and says, “This is me. I am in the Torah. G-d is telling me through His Torah that I exist. The Torah itself is my accreditation, my teudah.” The Torah does not say that the Ger Toshav exists. The Torah does not say that the Ger Tzedek exists. And the Torah does not really say that the Noahide exists, because of the few times that the Torah mentions B’nai Noah, it refers to the three sons of Noah, Shem, Japheth, and Ham, and not mankind. But the Torah mentions the Ger all over the place – love the Ger, do not taunt the Ger, remember that you were Gerim in Egypt – and the Ger (Toshav) of today says, “Anyone who wants to take that away from me, who wants to pretend that the Torah is not speaking about me when I know that it is – well, I’m from Texas and that man better come loaded for bear.”
L’Shana tova. May you all be written and sealed for a good year.
This video very much reminds me of the Ger, even though the rabbi never mentions it specifically. When he describes the sparks, try thinking of the Ger and coming back through agencies such as Mazal: "From God - and through His Providence."