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 3rd Learnings: 'the Contradiction and the Oneness' - Doing it

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daniel eliezer

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Join date : 2011-12-01
Location : Beit El, Israel

PostSubject: 3rd Learnings: 'the Contradiction and the Oneness' - Doing it   Fri May 24, 2013 8:31 am

For those who have difficulty with the transliterated Hebrew and who don't have access
to Jewish libraries, most transliterated Hebrew can probably be found through Google.
If the word is critical to what I'm saying, then it is explained.

*         *         *

The IMMENSITY of a Jew
so little is it understood today …especially by Jews

We’ve reached the Torah portion of Sh’lach L’cha and the story of the M’raglim, the Spies, whose venomous report on Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, was instrumental in causing Am Yisrael to spend forty years in the Midbar, instead of entering Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, in another week or so. I’ve been blessed to have written some good insights and understandings about Sh’lach L’cha, yet nonetheless Sh’lach L’cha remains a very baffling part of the Torah, as we shall see.

Let me start by sharing a story which can be found in the ‘Conversion & Discussion’ Forum in the Topic: “Interview with a convert to Judaism”, which was posted by Debbie B. The first reason for mentioning the interview is solely to provide opportunity to hear something that is very relevant to Sh’lach L’cha but which is too lengthy to write out. This is the link [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/Player.aspx#0%233984], and at just about the 2/3 mark where the question the question is asked, “How did you make aliyah to Israel?” begins a 6-minute segment which recounts some extraordinary experiences.

Further reasoning for why I’m asking us to listen or re-listen is this really is something that ‘should be heard’, because this is one of those situations where writing falls far short of conveying what speaking contains. Most importantly, though, is that from beginning to end what it says about Israel is astonishing and even unbelievable…beginning with a goy and ending with a Ger!

Regarding Israel, I’ll briefly say just a few words here. God, Torah, Eretz Yisrael, and Am Yisrael are as essential to me ‘as a Ger’ [the Ger & Jew I am] as they are to a ‘Jew as a Jew’. These things are the genuine dimensions of our lives – both Jew & Ger - inside and out, as magnificent in their heights as they are awesome in their depths. Still, while this is true, I’m cognizant that Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, doesn’t mean the same thing to each of us. A simple example will suffice. If one says, “We’re going on vacation - five days in Italy, five in Greece, and four in Israel,” it means one thing. If one says, “We’re going to Israel for two weeks,” it means something else. Add to this now, we’re going to ‘Eretz Yisrael’ - the Land of Israel, and we increase our closeness. I think we all understand.

Before I converted and even while I was converting and despite that the community I was a part of Israel was super-pro-Israel and was helping build a community in Israel, for me Israel was almost as if it didn’t exist – literally. It existed and I knew that, but that which I’m talking about is the country ‘Israel’ as the world knows it and as it is promoted within the entire community of Jews; the Israel that is marketed for tourists and for Jews who ‘have to be sold something’ before it has any meaning to them. That Israel I was ignorant of.

The Israel that I did learn about and came to know and to love is Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, which was given to me by some very profound Jews, Rabbis Yosef Dov Baer Soloveitchik, zt”l, Shlomo Riskin, Morris Besdin, zt”l, and others of the Yeshiva University influenced world of Jews. And it wasn’t only them but also the so-called everyday-Jews I knew who spoke about ‘Israel’… spoke with such love and longing and desire. Through all of them, separately and together, I inherited the Eretz Yisrael of Torah - God’s Eretz Yisrael.

[Note: We may or may not know this, but Israel that we’ve been speaking about doesn’t exist in Torah!? Whenever Torah speaks about ‘Israel’ it speaks about ‘הארץ’ – HaAretz
[*], the Land. The only ‘Israel’ in the Torah is the name Yisrael [Israel] that is given to Ya’akov and to his children ‘B’nei Yisrael. ‘Eretz Yisrael,’ the Land of Israel, gets its name because ‘B’nei Yisrael lives there.]

Turning to Sh’lach L’cha, no Ger and no Giyoret who is reading these lines cannot not know that the Torah portion that outright compliments Sh’lach L’cha is the portion ‘Lech L’cha’ in Sefer Bereshith. How is it that we Gerim cannot not know? Because the portion Lech L’cha begins with God asking Abraham , “Lech L’cha…” – “Go for your sake from your homeland, from your birthright, from your father’s home to the Land that I will show you.” The entire story of the people we Gerim have chosen to unite with begins with God inviting - not commanding - Abraham to “give it all up and follow Me.”

In Sh’lach L’cha, the people we Gerim have chosen to unite with are literally 6 days away from entering HaAretz, the Land, that was promised to Abraham to be given to his children. Unlike in Lech L’cha, where Abraham was being asked to give up everything ‘that ties him down and lays claim to him’, for us in Sh’lach L’cha, not only isn’t there anything that ties us down, but ‘that which lays claim to us’ is not behind us but in front of us: it is where we are going – HOME!

And yet, as we see from the M’raglim, the Spies, apparently the last place we want to get to…or at least get to at such an accelerated pace…is HaAretz, the Land, and home!? It will only be 39 years later [we’ve already been in the Midbar 1 year, thus 1+39=40] is when we will finally fulfill the promise of a homeland that was made to Abraham. What’s gone wrong?

In the Torah it’s clear, or mostly clear, as to what happens with the M’raglim, the Spies. Why it happens, however, is extremely elusive, so elusive that the commentators don’t really align and unite over one single reason or motivation. The only thing they concur on, all the while differing regarding from what motivation, is that Am Yisrael isn’t ready yet to go home, and no matter at which commentator we look and at which reasons and reasoning we accept this is the crux of the matter: we are not ready to go home.

Some say our leaders, the rabbis, mislead us because they knew that once they would enter the Holy Land they would no longer be powerful and influential. Others say that we knew that Moshe Rabbainu would be forbidden from entering HaAretz, the Land (which was true), and we didn’t want to lose Moshe and learning Torah from him. Even others say we thought that we ourselves had to conquer the Holy Land, and that those who were already living there were too powerful for us to accomplish this. And there are also those who say our reasoning was, “Giving up the Midbar where everything is provided for us and going to a place where we have to do everything ourselves?…It’s insanity!” At a glance we can understand every reason, but at a second glance we can’t understand any reason.

Avraham Aveinu, Yitzhak Aveinu, Ya’akov Aveinu [Abraham, Isaac, Jacob our Forefathers] were each promised that the Holy Land would be the home[land] for their descendents. From this promise we survived 210 years of bitter servitude in Egypt, and we endured 50 exhausting days of trial and tribulation from Egypt to Mt. Sinai. We stood at Mt. Sinai and received Torah, and then we spent almost an entire year making preparations to leave.

What we’ve just iterated, some 400 years from promise to Mt. Sinai, was done solely for the sake of our being able to dwell in the Holy Land as the bonafide residents and citizens. At this point in our lives in Sh’lach L’cha, we should have been going out of our minds with excitement from everything that had brought us to this magnificent moment. Everything we’d been promised, all our dreams and hopes and prayers were finally coming to fruition. We literally should have been blowing our minds with joy and anticipation - dancing and singing in the greatest exhaltation of what we were approaching…

…but we weren’t……we just weren’t…...were we.

Strangely, God’s giving us is not always matched by our receiving and accepting. We ask God and pray to God and cry to God, but when God answers our prayers we’re not always home. It’s not so simple, is it, or it is so simple, isn’t it. We want God to be there for us, and, equally, God wants us to be there for Him. But there’s also this.

Standing at Mt. Sinai and then later dwelling at it’s feet while Moshe stayed on top, we absorbed directly and indirectly all of what the Holy One, Blessed be He, was pouring into us. We - and I include myself – we really don’t even begin to understand what that was and what it meant, but from among all the peoples and nations of the world we were the ones blessed to be chosen to accept and receive all that God was giving us…and through us giving the world. What a magnificent blessing, and in true humbleness we all knew what it all meant.

Given this, then why at Mt. Sinai weren’t we all fixed? Why didn’t we get it right the first time and not make the ‘חטא העגל הזהב’ – the Sin of the Golden Calf? Why here in Sh’lach L’cha did we send spies to allow us to manipulate our way out of going home to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. What’s wrong?

There are two…two sides to what’s going on in life. There’s the Divine and there’s the not-yet Divine. God is the boundary between that which is ‘sacred and Divine’ and that which is not yet ‘sacred and Divine’.[**] We mention together the ‘Sin of the Golden Calf’ and the ‘Sin of the Spies’, the two greatest wrongs that the entirety of B’nei Yisrael did in the Midbar, so wrong that in each situation God says to Moshe, “I’m going to obliterate them and begin anew with you.” God’s telling Moshe, “We’ve reached the point of no return[ing to each other].” And in response, Moshe each time restores what’s between us, what’s brought us together, and why we exist for each other.

Words dwarf any attempt to portray and describe just how much was demanded of Moshe. We always call him Moshe Rabbainu, because he was the one who carried us…carried us the entire way: from prying and leading us out of Egypt until the very threshold of our entering the Holy Land. (The entirety of Sefer D’varim [Deuteronomy] is Moshe’s complete absorption in getting us prepared for entering the Holy Land, knowing that he himself is not included!?) Not only this, but our every failure, every defeat and descent, and all our brokenness it was Moshe’s heart that bore this and lifted us and carried us through. Every confrontation with God, it was Moshe, Moshe Rabbainu, Moshe OUR teacher, who stood his ground unrelenting, immovable, and unshakable in his belief that it can be.

Without any doubt, God, too, called him Moshe Rabbainu, Moshe OUR teacher, because Moshe also taught God, just as he also taught all those who surround God just who man is and what man is capable of. In Sefer Tehilim Kind David says, “who is man that you remember him?”, and the Angels use these words when they challenge God’s not annihilating existence because of its lowly behavior. It’s Avraham Aveinu [Abraham our Forefather] who silences all the Angels by calling Torah to testify in our behalf. “You Angels, you’re perfect beings. You have no need for Torah and there’s nothing in it for you,” and then letter-of-the-alphabet by letter-of-the-alphabet Abraham refutes the Angels.

But it’s not Abraham but Moshe Rabbainu – our and God’s teacher – who is the one who defends us using the Torah. “They ARE NOT perfect beings [like your Angels]. They’re human beings with the limitations that creation imposes upon them, but…BUT they are more than this. They are the descendents, the children of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya’akov, they are those same children who plummeted the purgatory of Egypt and climbed out to stand on Mt. Sinai to receive what you promised their Forefathers. Do not think for even one second that you can begin with me and get better than they are. For all their faults and failings and all the disappoint that they are…they are the ones who did it.” There will never be anyone like them. They are IMMENSE!

Behind the scenes, this is what is happening in Sh’lach L’cha: Am Yisrael collapsing in the face of what confronts and awaits them, God offering Moshe a brand new start in life, and Moshe Rabbainu telling God, “You don’t know them; You don’t know how great they are; You will never be able to find better than them.”

God opens doors and God is always opening doors. Abraham had the courage to walk through the door God opened for him. When God said, “Lech L’cha…give it up and follow me,” Abraham heard what God was saying to him, “I’m opening the door…you can walk away entirely from ‘what’ you are…because you are walking toward [becoming] ‘whoyou are.”

In Sh’lach L’cha, we also saw that door that opened for Abraham opening for and beckoning us…but we were afraid and we refused. That we are the Children of Avraham and Yitzhak and Ya’akov was lost on us what it meant. We only thought it meant ‘what we are’; we didn’t understand and comprehend and grasp that it means ‘who we are’. Had we known that it means ‘who we are’, we also would have known that we had no right, no reason, no justification for walking through that open door, because we too know, “מה אנוש כי תזכרנו” – “what is man that You remember him.”

But in knowing ‘who we are’ we would have walked through that door, because we would also have known that it wasn’t dependent on us. “God was inviting us.”

God was willing and ready and desirous of taking us just as we were…but we couldn’t ‘accept and receive it’. 40 years later a new generation with new eyes and new hearts would.

The catastrophe of the M’raglim brought us Tisha b’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Holy Temples in Yerushalayim, and really we’re mourning all the brokenness and destruction since the beginning of time. But what we didn’t know in Sh’lach L’cha when we stood on the threshold of the open door that beckoned us is that Tisha b’Av is the day that creation designates for the  inauguration of the Messianic Era.

The ‘Contradiction and the Oneness’…so, so unworthy on the one hand, so overwhelmingly worthy on the other...

Shalom,
Daniel Eliezer
22 Sivan 5773

[*]The Hebrew word for land that means country or territory, etc. is ‘ארץ’ – Eretz. Because of grammatical rules, when you want to say ‘the Land’ you prefix the letter ‘ה’- heh, which causes the accent to change and the ‘eh’ of Eretz becomes the longer ‘ah’ of Aretz. Thus ‘Eretz’ and ‘Aretz’ are identical in meaning, the grammatical changes only affect context.

[**] Not insignificantly, this is the completion of the havdalah blessing we say after Shabbat and Yom Tov when we are turning from a ‘day of sanctity’ to a day of ‘lesser sanctity’. Our concluding words are, “...hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.” - “...[who] distinguishes between sacred and profane [not-yet sacred].”



*         *         *
What I write doesn't invite comments within the topic, but I do want you to know
that all are welcome to write me should you have any questions or comments.
I can be reached at: d.e.ben.eitan@gmail.com.


Last edited by daniel eliezer on Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:45 am; edited 2 times in total
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daniel eliezer

avatar

Posts : 82
Join date : 2011-12-01
Location : Beit El, Israel

PostSubject: Re: 3rd Learnings: 'the Contradiction and the Oneness' - Doing it   Fri May 31, 2013 11:03 am

For those who have difficulty with the transliterated Hebrew and who don’t have access
to Jewish libraries, most transliterated Hebrew can probably be found through Google.
If the word is critical to what I’m saying, then it is explained.

* * *

The IMMENSITY of a Jew
so little is it understood today …especially by Jews

We’ve reached the Torah portion of Shlach L’cha and the story of the M’raglim, the Spies, whose venomous report on Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, was instrumental in causing Am Yisrael to spend forty years in the Midbar, instead of entering Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, in another week or so. I’ve been blessed to have written some good insights and understandings about Shlach L’cha, yet nonetheless Shlach L’cha remains a very baffling part of the Torah, as we shall see.

Let me start by sharing a story which can be found in the ‘Conversion & Discussion’ Forum in the Topic: “Interview with a convert to Judaism”, which was posted by Debbie B. The first reason for mentioning the interview is solely to provide opportunity to hear something that is very relevant to Shlach L’cha but which is too lengthy to write out. This is the link [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/Player.aspx#0%233984], and at just about the 2/3 mark where the question the question is asked, “How did you make aliyah to Israel?” begins a 6-minute segment which recounts some extraordinary experiences.

Further reasoning for why I’m asking us to listen or re-listen is this really is something that ‘should be heard’, because this is one of those situations where writing falls far short of conveying what speaking contains. Most importantly, though, is that from beginning to end what it says about Israel is astonishing and even unbelievable…beginning with a goy and ending with a Ger!

Regarding Israel, I’ll briefly say just a few words here. God, Torah, Eretz Yisrael, and Am Yisrael are as essential to me ‘as a Ger’ [the Ger & Jew I am] as they are to a ‘Jew as a Jew’. These things are the genuine dimensions of our lives – both Jew & Ger - inside and out, as magnificent in their heights as they are awesome in their depths. Still, while this is true, I’m cognizant that Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, doesn’t mean the same thing to each of us. A simple example will suffice. If one says, “We’re going on vacation - five days in Italy, five in Greece, and four in Israel,” it means one thing. If one says, “We’re going to Israel for two weeks,” it means something else. Add to this now, we’re going to ‘Eretz Yisrael’ - the Land of Israel, and we increase our closeness. I think we all understand.

Before I converted and even while I was converting and even despite that the community I was a part of Israel was super-pro-Israel and was helping build a community in Israel, for me Israel was almost as if it didn’t exist – literally. It existed and I knew that, but that which I’m talking about is the country ‘Israel’ as the world knows it and as it is promoted within the entire community of Jews; the Israel that is marketed for tourists and for Jews who ‘have be sold something’ before it has any meaning to them. That Israel I was ignorant of.

The Israel that I did learn about and came to know and to love is Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, which was given to me by some very profound Jews, Rabbis Yosef Dov Baer Soloveitchik, zt”l, Shlomo Riskin, Morris Besdin, zt”l, and others of the Yeshiva University influenced world of Jews. And it wasn’t only them but also the so-called everyday-Jews I knew who spoke about ‘Israel’… spoke with such love and longing and desire. Through all of them, separately and together, I inherited the Eretz Yisrael of Torah, - God’s Eretz Yisrael.

[Note: We may or may not know this, but Israel that we’ve been speaking about doesn’t exist in Torah!? Whenever Torah speaks about ‘Israel’ it speaks about ‘הארץ’ – HaAretz [*], the Land. The only ‘Israel’ in the Torah is the name Yisrael [Israel] that is given to Ya’akov and to his children ‘B’nei Yisrael. ‘Eretz Yisrael,’ the Land of Israel, gets its name because ‘B’nei Yisrael lives there.]

Turning to Shlach L’cha, no Ger and no Giyoret who is reading these lines cannot not know that the Torah portion that outright compliments Shlach L’cha is the portion ‘Lech L’cha’ in Sefer Bereshith. How is it that we Gerim cannot not know? Because the portion Lech L’cha begins with God asking Abraham , “Lech L’cha…” – “Go for your sake from your homeland, from your birthright, from your father’s home to the Land that I will show you.” The entire story of the people we Gerim have chosen to unite with begins with God inviting - not commanding - Abraham to “give it all up and follow Me.”

In Shlach L’cha, the people we Gerim have chosen to unite with are literally 6 days away from entering HaAretz, the Land, that was promised to Abraham to be given to his children. Unlike in Lech L’cha where Abraham was being asked to give up everything ‘that ties him down and lays claim to him’, for us in Shlach L’cha, not only isn’t there anything that ties us down, but ‘that which lays claim to us’ is not behind us but in front of us: it is where we are headed – HOME!

And yet, as we see from the M’raglim, the Spies, apparently the last place we want to get to…or at least get to at such an accelerated pace…is HaAretz, the Land, and home!? It will only be 39 years later [we’ve already been in the Midbar 1 year, thus 1+39=40] is when we will finally fulfill the promise of a homeland that was made to Abraham. What’s gone wrong?

In the Torah it’s clear, or mostly clear, as to what happens. Why it happens, however, is extremely elusive, so elusive that the commentators don’t really align and unite over one single reason or motivation. The only thing they concur on, all the while differing regarding from what motivation, is that Am Yisrael isn’t ready yet to go home, and no matter at which commentator we look and at which reasons and reasoning we accept this is the crux of the matter: we are not ready to go home.

Some say the leaders, the rabbis, mislead them because they knew that once they would enter the Holy Land they would no longer be powerful and influential. Others say that we knew that Moshe Rabbainu would be forbidden from entering HaAretz, the Land (which was true), and we didn’t want to lose Moshe and learning Torah from him. Even others say we thought that we ourselves had to conquer the Holy Land, and that those who were already living there were too powerful for us to accomplish this. And there are also those who say our reasoning was, “Giving up the Midbar where everything is provided for us and going to a place where we have to do everything ourselves?…It’s insanity!” At a glance we can understand every reason, but at a second glance we can’t understand any reason.

Avraham Aveinu, Yitzhak Aveinu, Ya’akov Aveinu [Abraham, Isaac, Jacob our Forefathers] were each promised that the Holy Land would be the home[land] for their descendents. From this promise we survived 210 years of bitter servitude in Egypt, and we endured 50 exhausting days of trial and tribulation from Egypt to Mt. Sinai. We stood at Mt. Sinai and received Torah, and then we spent almost an entire year making preparations to leave.

What we’ve just iterated, some 400 years from beginning to end, was done solely for the sake of our being able to dwell in the Holy Land as the bonafide residents and citizens. At this point in our lives in Shlach L’cha, we should have been going out of our minds with excitement from everything that had brought us to this magnificent moment. Everything we’d been promised, all our dreams and hopes and prayers were finally coming to fruition. We literally should have been blowing our minds with joy and anticipation - dancing and singing in the greatest exhaltation of what we were approaching…

…but we weren’t……we just weren’t…...were we.

Strangely, God’s giving us is not always matched by our receiving and accepting. We ask God and pray to God and cry to God, but when God answers our prayers we’re not always home. It’s not so simple, is it, or it is so simple, isn’t it. We want God to be there for us, and, equally, God wants us to be there for Him. But there’s also this.

Standing at Mt. Sinai and then later dwelling at it’s feet while Moshe stayed on top, we absorbed directly and indirectly all of what the Holy One, Blessed be He, was pouring into us. We - and I include myself – we really don’t even begin to understand what that was and what it meant, but from among all the peoples and nations of the world we were the ones blessed to be chosen to accept and receive all that God was giving us and through us giving the world. What a magnificent blessing, and in true humbleness we all knew what it all meant.

Given this, then why at Mt. Sinai weren’t we all fixed? Why didn’t we get it right the first time and not make the ‘חטא העגל הזהב’ – the Sin of the Golden Calf? Why here in Shlach L’cha did we send spies to allow us to manipulate our way out of going home to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. What’s wrong?

There are two…two sides to what’s going on in life. There’s the Divine and there’s the not-yet Divine. God is the boundary between that which is ‘sacred and Divine’ and that which is not yet ‘sacred and Divine’.[**] We mention together the ‘Sin of the Golden Calf’ and the ‘Sin of the Spies’, the two greatest wrongs that the entirety of B’nei Yisrael did in the Midbar, so wrong that in each situation God says to Moshe, “I’m going to obliterate them and begin anew with you.” God’s telling Moshe, “We’ve reached the point of no return[ing to each other].” And in response, Moshe each time restores what’s between us, what’s brought us together, and why we exist for each other.

Words dwarf any attempt to portray and describe just how much was demanded of Moshe. We always call him Moshe Rabbainu, because he was the one who carried us…carried us the entire way: from prying and leading us out of Egypt until the very threshold of our entering the Holy Land. (The entirety of Sefer D’varim [Deuteronomy] is Moshe’s complete absorption in getting us prepared for entering the Holy Land, knowing that he himself is not included.) Not only this, but our every failure, every defeat and descent, and all our brokenness it was Moshe’s heart that bore this and lifted us and carried us through. Every confrontation with God, it was Moshe, Moshe Rabbainu, Moshe OUR teacher, who stood his ground unrelenting, immovable, and unshakable in his belief that it can be.

Without any doubt, God, too, called him Moshe Rabbainu, Moshe OUR teacher, because Moshe also taught God, just as he also taught all those who surround God just who man is and what man is capable of. In Sefer Tehilim Kind David says, “who is man that you remember him?”, and the Angels use these words when they challenge God’s not annihilating existence because of its lowly behavior. It’s Avraham Aveinu [Abraham our Forefather] who silences all the Angels by calling Torah to testify in our behalf. “You Angels, you’re perfect beings. You have no need for Torah and there’s nothing in it for you,” and then letter-of-the-alphabet by letter-of-the-alphabet Abraham refutes the Angels.

But it’s not Abraham but Moshe Rabbainu – our and God’s teacher – who is the one who defends us using the Torah. “They ARE NOT perfect beings [like your Angels]. They’re human beings with the limitations that creation imposes upon them, but…BUT they are more than this. They are the descendents, the children of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya’akov, they are those same children who plummeted the purgatory of Egypt and climbed out to stand on Mt. Sinai to receive what you promised their Forefathers. Do not think for even one second that you can begin with me and get better than they are. For all their faults and failings and the disappoint that they are…they are the ones who did it.” There will never be anyone like them. They are IMMENSE!

Behind the scenes, this is what is happening in Shlach L’cha: Am Yisrael collapsing in the face of what confronts and awaits them, God offering Moshe a brand new start in life, and Moshe Rabbainu telling God, “You don’t know them; You don’t know how great they are; You will never be able to find better than them.”

God opens doors and God is always opening doors. Abraham had the courage to walk through the door God opened for him. When God said, “Lech L’cha…give it up and follow me,” Abraham heard what God was saying to him, “I’m opening the door…you can walk away entirely from ‘what’ you are…because you are walking toward [becoming] ‘whoyou are.”

In Shlach L’cha, we also saw that door that opened for Abraham opening for and beckoning us…but we were afraid and we refused. That we are the Children of Avraham and Yitzhak and Ya’akov was lost on us what it meant. We only thought it meant ‘what we are’; we didn’t understand and comprehend and grasp that it means ‘who we are’. Had we known that it means ‘who we are’, we also would have known that we had no right, no reason, no justification for walking through that open door, because we too know, “מה אנוש כי תזכרנו” – “what is man that You remember him.”

But in knowing ‘who we are’ we would have walked through that door, because we would also have known that it wasn’t dependent on us. “God was inviting us.”

God was willing and ready and desirous of taking us just as we were…but we couldn’t ‘accept and receive it’. 40 years later a new generation with new eyes and new hearts would.

The catastrophe of the M’raglim brought us Tisha b’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Holy Temples in Yerushalayim, and really we’re mourning all the brokenness and destruction since the beginning of time. But what we didn’t know in Shlach L’cha when we stood on the threshold of the open door that beckoned us is that Tisha b’Av is the day that creation designates for the building of the Beit HaMikdash, of the Holy Temple – The Beit HaMikdash that which will never be destroyed and be forever.

The ‘Contradiction and the Oneness’…so unworthy on the one hand, so overwhelmingly worthy on the other...

Shalom,
Daniel Eliezer
23 Sivan 5773

[*] The Hebrew word for land that means country or territory, etc. is ‘ארץ’ – Eretz. Because of grammatical rules, when you want to say ‘the Land’ you prefix the letter ‘ה’- heh, which causes the accent to change and the ‘eh’ of Eretz becomes the longer ‘ah’ of Aretz. Thus ‘Eretz’ and ‘Aretz’ are identical in meaning, the grammatical changes only affect context.

[**] Not insignificantly, this is the completion of the havdalah blessing we say after Shabbat and Yom Tov when we are turning from a ‘day of sanctity’ to a day of ‘lesser sanctity’. Our concluding words are, “...hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.” - “...[who] distinguishes between sacred and profane [not-yet sacred].”

* * *
What I write doesn’t invite comments within the topic, but I do want you to know
that all are welcome to write me should you have any questions or comments.
I can be reached at: d.e.ben.eitan@gmail.com.

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