De la Esencia a la Realización

El Secreto del Bastón de Aarón

por Gal Einai

El Desafío al Liderazgo

La porción de la Torá de esta semana, Koraj, cuenta acerca del desafío al liderazgo de Moshé y Aarón. Koraj era una persona importante y un alma muy elevada; como tal, se engañó a si mismo y a los otros pretendiendo el Sumo Sacerdocio en vez de Aarón (qué koraje). Dios utilizó el simbolismo del bastón de Aarón para probar que sólo este era el elegido para el puesto del sacerdocio eterno.

El Florecimiento del Bastón Estéril

Dios instruyó a Moisés que ponga los bastones de los príncipes de cada tribu en el Kodesh HaKodashim, de tal manera que el que floreciera determinaría cuál príncipe era el designado por Di-s para servir como Sumo Sacerdote. Moisés puso intencionalmente el báculo de Aarón en el lugar más neutral en el medio del Sancta Sanctorum, para prevenir la posibilidad de que reclamen que floreció porque estaba en un lugar más ventajoso.

Una vara es un pedazo de madera estéril que no puede florecer naturalmente. Ese bastón, símbolo del liderazgo, reflejó milagrosamente la belleza Divina al retoñar, florecer y producir almendras. La palabra hebrea para «almendra», shaked, es una permutación de la palabra «santo», kodesh. El milagro probó a todos que Aarón era el elegido por Di-s para manifestar la santidad en el mundo.

El Milagro del Bastón

El florecimiento del bastón consta de cuatro etapas, que por supuesto, corresponden a las cuatro letras del Nombre santo de Di-s, Havaiá, que se deletrea iud, hei, vav, hei.

Etapa 1: La vara inanimada es el punto inicial y todo abarcador, la iud, llamado Aba, «Padre» y corresponde a jojmáh. A diferencia de las otras tres etapas, esta no es milagrosa; por tener una familia –madre, hijo, hija- muestra que no es una imagen de esterilidad. Di-s ha elegido que este padre sea una fuente genuina de autoridad. Esta etapa en potencia es llamada atzmut, esencia.

Etapa 2: La flor, peraj, la primera hei del Nombre de Di-s, es llamada Ima, «Madre» y corresponde a bináh. Esta es la primera de las tres etapas milagrosas de florecimiento de la vara. Es el estado de gravidez, el potencial profundo e intenso que está lejos de su realización, llamado iejolet, capacidad, aptitud o habilidad.

Etapa 3: La yema o capullo, tzitz, la vav del Nombre de Di-s, llamado Zeir Anpin, «hijo» y que corresponde a las seis emociones del corazón. Esta es la etapa de la manifestación, el potencial más inmediato llamado coaj, potencial.

Etapa 4: Las almendras, shkedim, la hei final del Nombre de Di-s, llamado Nukvah, «Hija» y corresponde a maljut. Esta es la etapa de la realización del potencial, llamado poal, realizar.

Etapa Letra del
Nombre de Di-s
Parte de la Familia Sefiráh Manifesta-ción Nombre de la Etapa
Vara Matéh Iud Padre Jojmáh Una esencia aparentemen-te estéril Esencia
Atzmut
Flor Peraj Hei superior Madre Bináh Gravidez Habilidad
Iejolet
Retoño Vav Hijo Las seis emociones del corazón Manifesta-
ción del po-
tencial
Potencial
Koaj
Almendras
shkedim
Hei inferior Hija Maljut Concreción Realización
Poal

Las Matemáticas del Bastón

Como Aarón es de la tribu de Leví, su bastón se conoce como el Bastón de Leví, Matéh Leví. La guematria o valor numérico de matéh es 54, la de Leví es 46. Juntos suman 100, un número cuadrado que representa la perfección o consumación en la propia esencia de este bastón en particular. (Cuando cada letra se escribe completa, Matéh Leví suma 611, el valor numérico de la palabra Toráh.)

Las letras iniciales de las palabra Matéh Leví, mem y dalet, suman 70, equivalente a al letra ain. El resto de las letras suman 30, lamed. Ain y lamed forman la palabra al, que significa «sobre» o «arriba», proveniente de la raíz de la palabra en hebreo para «ascenso». La palabra al es la decimotercera en la Toráh. 13 es un número muy importante y es el valor numérico de ejad, «uno», y ahaváh, «amor». También alude a los 13 Atributos de Misericordia Divina.

El bastón de Aarón es al, elevado sobre los otros. Suya es la vara del Sumo Sacerdocio que eleva a los demás y a todas las almas de Israel. Una de las responsabilidades del Sumo Sacerdote es encender las candelas de la menoráh, que representan las almas de Israel, hasta que la llama se eleve por si misma. Sólo él puede realizar esta tarea. El poder intrínseco del bastón de Aarón es que es una fuente de elevación para toda la nación.

El nombre de Aarón estaba inscripto en la vara, produciendo el milagro de sus retoños. El valor numérico de Aarón es 256, que es 16 al cuadrado. El valor numérico de la vara, como se dijo es 100, 10 al cuadrado. 16 más 10 es igual a 26 (el Nombre de Di-s) al cuadrado. Cuando el nombre de Aarón (16 al cuadrado) se suma al de bastón (10 al cuadrado), obtenemos las tres etapas milagrosas del desarrollo de la vara. Más aún, las tres letras del Nombre de Di-s que corresponden a esta etapa, hei, vav y hei, 5, y 5, suman también 16.

Las Chispas Florales

El secreto de la flor, peraj, es la belleza del potencial del niño dentro de la madre, incluso antes de que el capullo se manifieste. El valor numérico de peraj es 288, el número de chispas Divinas dispersas en el mundo. Como las flores, todas estas chispas existen en la realidad, pero todavía no se manifestaron como fruto Divino. Estas chispas deben ascender al útero de la madre para renacer en la realidad como un fruto nuevo, como se explica en profundidad en cabalá.

Un fruto Potente

El Sumo Sacerdote despierta la misericordia sobre Israel y eleva sus almas. Las vestimentas que lleva puestas le permiten hacer incidir su potencial espiritual sobre las almas de Israel. El tzitz es la vestimenta usada en la frente del Sumo Sacerdote. Tzitz, que también significa «observar», es la palabra para «retoño». El Sumo Sacerdote exhibe esta imagen visible de potencial sobre su frente. Es interesante observar que las últimas letras de estas tres etapas milagrosas del retoño de las varas (peraj, tzitz y shkedim) son mem, tzadik, jet, que forman la palabra metzaj, «frente». El tzitz del sacerdote es llamado tzitz nezer kodesh, el retoñar de la corona sagrada. Kodesh, como ya se dijo es una permutación de la palabra para «almendra». El retoñar de las almendras es el hijo y la hija representados en la frente de la esencia del padre.

La verdadera profecía del Sumo Sacerdote está en su poder de bendecir a Israel para que sean fructíferos y se multipliquen. Esto está simbolizado por el báculo del Sumo Sacerdote y sus cuatro etapas desde la esencia hasta la realización. Cuando meditamos en la vara y sus cuatro etapas, también nosotros podemos dar a luz frutos santos y milagrosos en nuestras almas y en la realidad.

Segun tomado de, http://www.galeinai.org/GalEinaiv1/2018/07/12/de-la-esencia-a-la-realizacion/

How Christians Invented ‘Judaism,’ According to a Top Talmud Scholar

Daniel Boyarin.

Daniel Boyarin.

One of the greatest living scholars of the Talmud, Daniel Boyarin ponders the place where the two traditions were born, in brotherly rivalry but with a common biblical origin

If you ask a member of the Hopi tribe, “What is your Hopism?” you won’t get an answer. You can also ask a Romany (Gypsy), “What, actually, is Romanism?” And then meet a Druze and ask, “Excuse me, what is Druzism?” In each case you will have to suffice with the perplexed look of your interlocutor, as though there’s something very basic that you don’t seem to understand. That something has to do with the form and type of the entities about which you’re seeking clarification. Simply put, they are not ideological or religious constructs, but ethnic groups possessing a particular social-cultural heritage.

It’s hard for us to discern this, because our worldview – deriving from the modern Western approach – makes every effort to deny their existence. We are accustomed to subsume every large human group under two primary categories: nation and religion. The two categories are connected at their point of birth: The modern era introduced the nation-state, a political entity in which a particular people acquires self-determination; and religion, which is separate from the state, and with which people are free to form relations privately. Religion, in the sense of being a conception, a totality of the beliefs that an individual chooses to adopt, was born together with the nation-state, and completed from the private angle what the state provided from the public – which is to say, it conferred affiliation and meaning. But the one has nothing to do with the other. As Jesus proposed, unto Caesar is rendered that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.

Like the Hopi or the Druze, it’s also difficult to associate the Jews with one of the two alternatives. They are not only a nation and not only a religion, nor are they simply a nation that practices a religion. In recent years a number of books have been reexamining the modern (that is, Western-Protestant) perception of Judaism. Leora Batnitzky wrote a brilliant introduction to modern Judaism, titled “How Judaism Became a Religion”; in his book “Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition,” David Nirenberg discussed the construction of Judaism out of the Christian need for an eternal antagonist; Yaacov Yadgar dwelt on the Jewish anomaly that is expressed in Israeli nationalism in his book “Sovereign Jews: Israel, Zionism, and Judaism”; and last year saw the publication of Daniel Boyarin’s “Judaism: The Genealogy of a Modern Notion” (Rutgers University Press), to which the following comments are addressed.

It is almost superfluous to introduce Boyarin, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the greatest living scholars of the Talmud. For the past 30 years he has been a central signpost of contemporary directions in Jewish studies. From the outset of his career he interwove philology with techniques of literary criticism in order to understand the Talmudic text, and beyond that in order to introduce the Talmud into contemporary academic literary discourse. Boyarin possesses the ability of looking at the seminal texts from the scholarly angle and from the traditional angle alike, and with a combination of an astute analytical capability and a sly tendency toward provocation, almost every book he’s published has left a concrete imprint on the research in the field.

If one can distinguish a recurring motif in his work, it is the tension and cross-fertilization between rabbinic Judaism and Christianity (with a probing glance at the Hellenistic world as well), both in the Second Temple period and today. He has devoted considerable attention to the point at which these two traditions were born, in the same place and at the same time, amid brotherly rivalry beneath which lay a common biblical origin. In the course of examining the relations between the conjoined traditions, Boyarin devotes requisite space also to an examination of their approaches to gender and sexuality, weaving critical elements from feminist discourse into the fray. The critical gaze at the tension between Judaism and Christianity enables Boyarin repeatedly to dismantle frameworks of modern categorization, such as, in our case, “Judaism” and “religion.”

His latest book thus joins a series of studies that call into question the popular-naive conception of Judaism. Starkly put, Boyarin asserts that until a few hundred years ago, there was no such thing as “Judaism,” in the sense of an abstract category of thought and thus of life. Indeed, the term is not found in the Torah, Prophets or Writings, the Mishna or Talmud, the works of the early medieval Geonim, of Rabbi Judah Halevi or of Maimonides. None of them knew of the existence of such a thing as “Judaism.” The term’s first appearances date from the 12th century (for example, in the “Midrash Sekhel Tov,” by Rabbi Menachem Ben Shlomo), and even then it denotes not a particular culture or a particular religion but a condition – that is, the condition of being a Jewish person.

In his book, Boyarin traces the origin of the term, naturally not confining himself to Hebrew but also investigating the Greek loudaismos, Yiddishkayt in Yiddish, Judentum in German and “Judaism” in English. The author arrives at the conclusion that “Judaism” is not a Jewish term. Jews talk about the people of Israel, about Hebrews, about the Israelites and the Sons of the Covenant and several other collective attributes, but not about any sort of faith-based or theological structure. This notion of religion originates in Christianity, which began as a voluntary framework (after all, one wasn’t born Christian in the first century) and emphasizes correct faith.

Concurrently, the Jewish sages underscored affiliation with the ethnic collectivity and the observance of laws and customs. It was only beginning in the 16th century that the term trickled slowly into use as denoting religious belief – as something that occurs in the individual’s heart. Not coincidentally, all this arrived together with the Reformation, which split the Church and necessitated a reorganization of theological and meta-theological concepts in Europe.

Until the 19th century, Boyarin notes, it is impossible to find “Judaism” as the subject of a sentence. There is no “Judaism” that believes in one thing or another, there is no “the essence of Judaism.” Those attributes emerged only when modern Jewish avenues were compelled to define themselves: namely, when traditional Jewish society in Europe underwent dramatic processes of modernization and when Reform and Orthodox Judaism evolved. The two denominations sought to determine the basic principles of “Judaism,” each for its own reasons.

The Jewish tradition, then, increasingly resembled the Christian tradition, for it set out to integrate itself into the (modern Western) Christian world. For Christianity, this was of course very convenient. Boyarin makes clear how, already from the first centuries of the Common Era, Christianity constructed Judaism as the fundamental “Other,” vis-a-vis which it defined itself. In other words, there is no “Judaism” other than in a Christian context. There are of course Jews, the halakha (traditional Jewish law) exists, and so forth, but there is no abstract and general term other than through the Christian eye and against the backdrop of Christendom.

With the advent of the Emancipation, “Judaism” became the “religion” of the Jews, a development that helped them exceedingly to integrate into the emerging nation-states – thus, for example, a person could be a “German of the Mosaic faith.” The Jews became equal citizens in Western Europe. That process, Boyarin writes, “destroyed Yiddishkayt as a form of life.”

Which is true: The Jews’ traditional way of life was eradicated. In places where emancipation did not occur, Jews continued to maintain “traditionalism” – so it’s not surprising that Jews who immigrated to Israel from Muslim countries had a completely different attitude toward their Jewish identity than their European brethren. The Judaism of the traditionalists, beginning in the late 18th century and today as well, is not “religion” or “nationalism,” but a comprehensive ethnocultural identity.

Of course, Boyarin understands that there is no way back. Even though he is critical of the modern configuration of Judaism, he, like all of us, derives no little benefit from it. Himself an observant Jew, Boyarin is known as a firm critic of Zionism who perceives the Diasporic Jewish existence as a more authentic and worthier form of Jewish life. His vision involves the establishment of Jewish communities in the Diaspora that would take part in a joint national project with other groups and foment communal Jewish life. But this is achievable today only within a liberal democratic framework, namely the Christian-Protestant model that renders Judaism solely as a religion.

Suffiency of physicality

In an effort to understand Boyarin better, I met with him for a conversation. I asked him about the Christian – specifically, the Pauline – idea that presupposes that we are all first and foremost individuals, and about the fact that this is not only a potent and highly attractive notion but is also, ultimately, a highly advantageous one. After all, liberalism, which is based on this idea, created a beneficent world in which we, as Jews, can also live a secure, thriving life.

Boyarin said that he is definitely not a liberal. “We, the Jews, maintain that a human being is not monadic: Humans do not exist on their own and are not autonomous to decide personally what they are and who they are,” he explained. At the same time, he noted, “The depiction of Jewishness as a non-chosen condition into which one is born does not theoretically inhibit recognition of equality by the state.”

Nonetheless, I asked, isn’t the idea that all people are equal and have inalienable rights based on the Christian perception of the individual as being endowed with universal reason and free choice, which are situated in a nonmaterial soul? In other words, our conception of human equality is rooted in an inner essence that is considered more meaningful than any external feature (such as skin color, ethnic origin or different sexual organs). It’s only on the presupposition of an inner persona, hidden and autonomous, that we legitimize ethical ideas and institutions, such as the social contract, human rights, feminism and transsexual journeys. I have my own reservations about the modern occupation with inwardness, I told Boyarin, but we are bound to recognize that it has engendered much that we cherish.

“I don’t think I share those views about inner essences,” he said. “Is shared physicality not sufficient for solidarity? We resemble others, we mate with them, even when we don’t pretend we don’t, and we use language like them. They are us.”

Well, I replied, we know that historically, shared physicality was insufficient. We do not look exactly alike, and therefore we can treat others as being inferior to us – or, in rare cases, like the Incas’ encounter with Francisco Pizarro and his bearded white men, as superior to us.

Boyarin replied that he “still thinks that the homogenization of human beings through their supposed soul has done far more harm than good.”

But it seems to me that there is an unresolved point here. The modern, Western-Protestant world demands that Judaism change, as it demands of hundreds of other cultures to change. Given enough time, “Hopism” and “Druzism” will also come into existence. There’s something imperialist about this universalism, Boyarin is right about that, but even so, there’s a reward that comes with making the transition. We get human rights, civil rights and equality under the law, even at the moral and pragmatic level. In personal-psychological terms, the reward is still greater: We possess individuality and a sense of autonomy that are inconceivable in traditional societies. How many of us are willing to live a life that “does not exist on [its] own… not autonomous to decide personally what they are and who they are,” as Boyarin put it.

Regardless of how valid it may be, the liberal temptation captures our heart no less than it transforms our Judaism. Without doubt, the homogenization that Boyarin talks about exists, and there’s also a flattening of depths that once existed and are no longer, and there’s also social fragmentation. Our Judaism is not what it was, and what was will not return. But are we capable of giving up our Western individualism, even if we wish to? And is that in fact what we wish?

Dr. Tomer Persico is Koret Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a research fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Sin Dudas

por Yerachmiel Tilles

“Usted es aún muy joven.” me contestó, “Cuando sea mayor, entenderá.” Me respondió Martin Buber

Hace aproximadamente veinticinco años, viajaba en un autobús en Tel Aviv y entablé una conversación con el hombre que se sentó a mi lado. Parecía tener sesenta años, estaba prolijamente afeitado y llevaba una kipá que indicaba que era un judío observante.

Le conté que yo había estudiado filosofía. Él sonrió, me preguntó si había oído hablar de un famoso filósofo secular judío, existencialista, ya que tenía una historia interesante para contarme. (Era tan interesante que bajé del autobús cinco paradas después de la que pensaba.)

“Cuando era un joven, en Alemania, asistí a una de las conferencias del Profesor Martin Buber acerca de ‘Cuentos de los Maestros Jasídicos’. El hombre era un orador inteligente, un cuentista cautivador que me mantuvo literalmente fascinado durante las varias horas que duró su presentacion.

“Pero después de la conferencia, cuando entusiasmado me puse de pie para aplaudir, la persona que estaba sentada a mi lado, me golpeó en el hombro y dijo: “No se sienta tan exaltado. No estoy seguro de que el profesor preste atención a los preceptos básicos de la Torá”

Yo estaba espantado por lo que me decía. ¡La conferencia era acerca de temas jasídicos y de Rebes! “No se preocupe” agregó serenamente, “no es Lashón Hará (hablar mal de otro iehudí) él está orgulloso de ello. Vaya y pregúntele”

Me aproximé al podio donde el Profesor estaba rodeado por sus admiradores y le pregunté: “¿Es verdad que usted no observa los preceptos?”

“Él me miró con ojos inteligentes y dijo con un tono de misericordia: “Mi estimado joven, hay muchos niveles de conocimiento religioso y observancia. Existe el Judaísmo de Moisés que depende de la Palabra Escrita y las Mitzvot y existe el de Abraham; una pura conexión intelectual que es sin dudas la verdad. Y ése, es mi nivel”

“Yo lo miraba en shock y dije: ¡Pero esto es contrario a todo lo que usted ha hablado acerca de los maestros jasídicos!. ¡Y si me pregunta, es sin dudas nada más que puro egotismo!”

“Usted es aún muy joven” me contestó, “cuando sea mayor, entenderá.” Me respondió.

“Bien” mi vecino de asiento continuó, volviendo sus ojos a los míos. “Unos años después vino la guerra. Pasé por los campos de concentración. Vi asesinar a mis padres, a mis tres hermanos y cuatro hermanas. Estuve allí durante cuatro años que fueron como cien en el infierno. Pero entonces, un día finalizó.” -Usted tiene que bajar pronto probablemente, por lo que le haré corta la historia.

“Unos años después de la guerra me mudé a América con mis parientes y viví en Los Ángeles cuando vi un anuncio en un periódico judío que decía que el famoso profesor iba a hablar en un salón de conferencias.

Compré una entrada y fui. Allí estaba el mismo hombre, un poco mayor, con las mismas historias y las mismas conclusiones filosóficas. Esperé hasta que terminó, caminé a él y le dije: “Profesor ¿me recuerda?” Él agitó su cabeza. “No”. Yo continué. “Bien, hace aproximadamente quince años en Berlín le pregunté por qué usted no cree en la Torá y usted contestó que yo entendería cuándo me hiciera mayor.

“Bien, quiero que sepa profesor, que he crecido muchísimos años desde entonces y puedo decirle que, sin duda, ¡¡¡usted está completamente equivocado!! No existe algo así como Judaísmo sin los preceptos.

Me miró y dijo: “¡Usted haga su Judaísmo y yo haré el mío!”

Le contesté: “Usted haga su Judaísmo… ¡Y yo haré el de Di-s!”

Segun tomado de, https://es.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/639880/jewish/Sin-Dudas.htm

El desafío de crecer gradualmente

por Lazer Gurkow

En Canadá y en los Estados Unidos, esta época es llamada la temporada de libertad, ya que ambos países pronto celebrarán sus Días de la Independencia. Canadá ganó su independencia lenta y pacíficamente, y para los Estados Unidos fue una lucha larga y violenta. Para ambos, obtener la independencia fue un proceso.

La principal queja de los colonos contra Gran Bretaña fue: obligaciones tributarias sin poder tener representación. Gran Bretaña se enorgullecía de la máxima: “Ningún hombre debe ser forzado a pagar impuestos, sino por su propio consentimiento”, y sin embargo, no se sintió culpable de gravar a las colonias sin permitirles representación en el parlamento.

Dirigiéndose a la Cámara de los Comunes en un vigoroso debate, señaló el filósofo y político, Edmund Burke: “Para probar que los estadounidenses no deben ser libres, estamos obligados a despreciar el valor de la libertad en sí misma; y no parece que tengamos una mísera ventaja sobre ellos en el debate, sin atacar algunos de esos principios, o ridiculizar algunos de esos sentimientos, por los cuales nuestros antepasados ​​han derramado su sangre” 1

El rey Jorge III y su gobierno ciertamente tenían un punto ciego, cuando se trataba de la libertad. Ellos defendieron la libertad y la igualdad, pero solo para aquellos que consideraban dignos. Este punto ciego fue criticado rotundamente por los colonos, quienes, irónicamente, tenían su propio punto ciego. Sus derechos evidentes e inalienables a la libertad y la búsqueda de la felicidad fueron negados a los esclavos.

Los cambios basales de perspectivas vienen en etapas. Cuando se propone una idea radicalmente nueva, podemos adoptarla por sus virtudes, pero no nos damos cuenta de su aplicación completa de inmediato. Gran Bretaña tardó un siglo y medio en reconocer que las colonias eran dignas de independencia. Pasaría un siglo más antes de que Canadá obtuviera su emancipación. No en vano, lo mismo sucedió con los propios colonos. Llevó casi un siglo liberar a los esclavos, otro medio siglo para otorgar a las mujeres el derecho a votar, y otro medio siglo para garantizar los derechos civiles completos para todos. El crecimiento es gradual. Los cambios de paradigma se van arraigando con el tiempo.

Incluso los norteamericanos, que vieron esta falla en sus adversarios, no pudieron discernirla en sí mismos. Es común que aquellos que critican a otros sean víctimas de la misma ofuscación. En el otro, vemos la culpa fácilmente; en nosotros mismos, la ignoramos por completo.

El Baal Shem Tov enseñó 2 que esto es lo que pretendían decir nuestros sabios cuando expresaron: “Di-s castiga al hombre con y sin su conocimiento”. Di-s establece que nos topemos con otros con faltas similares a las nuestras, y cuando condenamos a los demás, nos condenamos sin saberlo. La reprobación se produce con nuestro conocimiento, somos conscientes de que hemos condenado al otro, pero también sin nuestro conocimiento, porque no somos conscientes de que nos hemos condenado a nosotros mismos.

La caída

Esto explica un curioso episodio bíblico. Moisés envió espías precediendo a los hijos de Israel en preparación para conquistar la Tierra Prometida. A su regreso, los exploradores desalentaron el traslado, prediciendo que el ejército de los judíos, no lograría conquistar la tierra. Para exagerar la fuerza de los habitantes, relataron que se encontraron con “los caídos; estirpe de los grandes gigantes.” ¿Quiénes eran estos caídos?

Nuestros sabios revelaron que estos eran los hijos de los ángeles caídos. Poco antes del Gran Diluvio, los ángeles se quejaron del comportamiento abominable de la humanidad. Di-s objetó que estaba mal que juzgaran el comportamiento del hombre en la tierra mientras ellos estaban seguros en el cielo. Los ángeles se ofrecieron a nacer en cuerpos humanos para demostrar que la tentación terrenal puede ser soportada. Di-s consintió, pero los ángeles eran más inmorales que los humanos. Estos ángeles nacieron en cuerpos gigantes, y fue su descendencia la que vieron los espías. Destacaron a estos poderosos gigantes en su informe para disuadir a los judíos de ingresar a Israel.3

Si los espías simplemente querían transmitir que se habían encontrado con gigantes, ¿por qué era importante su estirpe? ¿Por qué los espías mencionaron que estos gigantes descendían de los ángeles caídos?

Crecimiento gradual

Para responder a esta pregunta primero debemos hacer otra. ¿Por qué los espías se tornaron contra el deseo de Di-s de que los judíos ingresaran a la Tierra de Israel cuando la Torá misma testifica que los espías eran, al principio, hombres rectos?

Los espías se mostraron reacios a entrar en Israel precisamente porque eran justos, lo que nos devuelve a entender los cambios de paradigma. En Sinaí, Di-s presentó la nueva radical idea de que es posible vivir una vida celestial, incluso en la tierra. Los espías notaron que esto se podía lograr en el desierto, donde había pocas distracciones y aún menos tentaciones. Pero les preocupaba que en Israel, donde entrarían en la vida real, la Torá se volvería irrelevante. No puedes pavimentar carreteras, cobrar impuestos, cavar alcantarillas y formar ejércitos, estudiando la Torá. Para vivir en la realidad, tendrían que hacer cosas concretas y abandonar lo placentero, espiritualmente hablando; que habían disfrutado en el desierto. Temían que al mudarse a Israel, se alejarían de la gracia divina y llegarían a ser meros materialistas, indecentes y espiritualmente corruptos.

Por lo tanto, remarcaron que incluso los ángeles se habían “caído” cuando se les hizo vivir en el mundo real. Si esto pudiera sucederle a los ángeles, ciertamente podría sucederles a los seres humanos.

Los espías aún tenían que absorber la magnitud completa del cambio de paradigma del Monte Sinaí. La vida celestial no estaba predestinada solo para el desierto. Fue pensada para la vida real. Lógicamente, esto es demasiado pedir, pero debido a que esto es un mandato divino, estamos dotados de la capacidad para tener éxito.

La condena

Los espías juzgaban que su análisis era correcto, pero estaban equivocados. Como los ángeles habían caído, también lo habían hecho los espías, y al condenar a los ángeles por su caída, admitieron inadvertidamente su propia debilidad.

Los espías hicieron esta observación mientras estaban lejos del desierto, afuera de la burbuja. Desde exterior, no percibían la realidad a través de la misma lente que usaban dentro de la burbuja. Ya no estaban mirando las cosas a la manera de Di-s. Lo estaban mirando a su propia manera. Se habían caído y, por lo tanto, llegaron a la conclusión errónea de que la vida celestial en el mundo material es imposible. La verdad, como lo dicen Ioshua y Caleb, es que “si así Di-s lo desea… tendremos éxito”.

Vivir en el mundo real como un verdadero judío es un desafío incluso hoy en día. Pero los judíos han enfrentado desafíos aún mayores a lo largo de la historia y han tenido éxito.

Con demasiada frecuencia condenamos a los que son menos devotos que nosotros y al mismo tiempo nos justificamos cuando somos menos observantes que los demás. Los otros viven en una burbuja de ortodoxia, decimos, esto permite que puedan darse el lujo de ser extremistas. Yo vivo en el mundo real, donde la observancia total es imposible. La verdad es que el estilo de vida espiritual se puede vivir en todas partes. Lleva tiempo darse cuenta de esto porque todo el crecimiento, especialmente el crecimiento que requiere un cambio de paradigma, es gradual, pero con pasos pequeños y un compromiso inapelable, todos podemos ir haciendo un progreso constante.

Notas al Pie

1.Walter R. Borneman, American Spring, [Little, Brown and Company, Nueva York, Nueva York, 2014], pág. 104.2.

2.Likutei Moharan, 1: 113.

3.Números 13:33 (ver Rashi), Génesis 5 4 y Pirkei De Rab Eliezer, cap. 22.

Segun tomado de, https://es.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4416026/jewish/El-desafo-de-crecer-gradualmente.htm#utm_medium=email&utm_source=94_magazine_es&utm_campaign=es&utm_content=content

Ma’apilim: The Little-Known Warriors Who Disregarded Moses

You’ve hurt someone and now you want to make up. Although she wants space right now, you’re insistent and send flowers to her door twice a week for a month. She feels more violated than before. When we seek forgiveness, we must consider the needs of the injured party rather than our own.

The little-known story of the ma’apilim is the historic version of amends made on the perpetrator’s terms without regard for the other.

After the sin of the spies and the Jews’ refusal to enter Israel, G‑d decreed that the Jewish people wander the desert for the next 40 years. A group of Jews insisted on entering Israel anyway and prepared to launch an attack the next morning. Moses warned that their campaign would be unsuccessful, but they took no heed. As the fellowship climbed the mountain to enter the Promised Land, Amalekites, Amorites and Canaanites successfully quashed their attempt and beat them back to Hormah.1

These men are known as the ma’apilim, the defiant men (lit. “those who pushed ahead”),2 and their story is recorded in Numbers 14:40–45 and Deuteronomy 1:41–45.

The Story of the Failed Campaign

After the saga of the spies, G‑d, in a scathing speech to Moses and Aaron, promised that the entire generation that left Egypt would die in the desert: “In this desert, your bodies shall fall . . . because you complained against Me . . . Your children shall wander in the desert for 40 years and bear your defection until the last of your bodies have fallen in the desert.”3

Why did G‑d want the Jewish people to wander in the desert for so long before conquering the land? Maimonides explains that it was difficult for the nation to transition from slavery to courageous warfare automatically. Traversing the desert without the usual urban amenities was meant to instill courage and faith in the people. In addition, they would birth children who hadn’t experienced slavery, forming a generation of people for whom freedom was a given.4

When Moses relayed G‑d’s remarks to the people, they mourned intensely. Immediately, a group of soldiers said, “We are ready to ascend to the land G‑d has promised. We have sinned!” Moses told them not to go. “The Ark of the Covenant is not going with you; this campaign will not succeed!”5

The men didn’t listen. The next morning, they climbed to the hill country and staged an attack. It ended badly.6 In Moses’ Deuteronomical rebuke, he describes what happened: “The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you like bees and chased you, and they crushed you at Hormah in Seir.”7

The war was lost, but the Midrash offers us some consolation. “‘Like bees’—just as a bee dies instantly after stinging a person, [the Amorites] died upon touching you.”8

Other commentators understand the bee metaphor more simply. When bees feel threatened, they will swarm and attack; these nations did the same.9 In addition, bees simply harass their targets but do not kill them. Likewise, the Amorites successfully chased the Jews away but did not manage to cut them down.10

Who Were They?

Traditional Jewish sources say little about the identity of the defiant men. The Talmud records that Zelophehad, whose daughters take center stage in Numbers 27, may have died in the failed campaign.11 Other sages disagree.12

Why the Change of Heart?

As recently as the night prior to their campaign, the majority of Jewish adults scorned the idea of repossessing the land of Israel. The spies, in their scare campaign,13 managed to convince the Jews that their best bet was to return to Egypt, where they’d be safe from the big, strong men of Canaan.14 In his rebuke of the Jewish people, Moses conveyed G‑d’s anger, but he did not address the actual concerns that the Jewish people raised. So how did the ma’apilim suddenly have a change of heart?

Jewish tradition maintains that we all truly believe in G‑d and His omnipotence.15 Sometimes, however, that belief is obscured by a spirit of foolishness.16 To break that bout of folly, Moses rebuked the Jewish people. Tanya explains that Moses didn’t need to address their claims directly because once the fog is cleared, the faithful nature of the Jew will reappear.17

In their admittance of sin, the men demonstrated their newfound belief in G‑d’s power, but it was too late. G‑d had already decreed that the generation had to die out before entering the land.18 In their zeal to repent, the men went too far. While G‑d may have been pleased with their admittance of wrongdoing, the time was no longer ripe to enter the land. Nonetheless, they went through with their campaign. With this, they demonstrated that their repentance wasn’t completely sincere; if they were ready to turn to G‑d, they would have heeded His servant’s warning.19 Moses echoes this in his Deuteronomical rebuke: “I spoke to you, but you would not listen; you flouted G‑d’s command and willfully marched into the hill country.”20

What Were They Thinking?

Rabbi Naftali Berlin,21 Netziv, explains that the defiant men were willing to sacrifice their lives to enter Israel even if Moses and the Ark remained in the camp. They interpreted G‑d’s discouragement as a test of their resolve. Netziv points to a similar moment in Jewish history. Before Hananiah, Mishael, and Azarya cast themselves into Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, they asked the prophet, Ezekiel, if G‑d would save them. Ezekiel answered in the negative to ascertain whether their dedication to G‑d was genuine, and indeed it was.22 The ma’apilim were mistaken, but they meant well.

Alternatively, Rabbi Zadok Hakohen of Lublin23 posits that there are times when G‑d seems to close the doors of repentance but still desires that the sinner push through.24 He relates the defiant men to Elisha ben Abuya, who was also told that repentance was not an option. Nonetheless, had Elisha repented out of extreme love, his repentance would have been received by G‑d, for that was His true will.

The ma’apilim, however, were not completely contrite,25 and in this particular instance, G‑d’s decree was non-negotiable.26

Alternatively, the Rebbe explains that the ma’apilim had indeed atoned for the sin of not wishing to enter the land. However, they died as a result attempting to enter the land against G‑d’s will.27

The path to redemption had to be paved by Moses and the Ark. The fact that they remained behind doomed the ma’apilim from the outset. The final redemption, as well, has a clearly defined path in Jewish law. Hastening the redemption is only possible if we follow G‑d’s plan.28

How to Say Sorry

You meant well when you sent those flowers. But seeking forgiveness is not about regaining our own sense of “I’m a good person.” When we’ve hurt someone we have to ask, “What does the one I hurt need right now?” The path to reconciliation is to listen closely to the one we’ve pained and to genuinely seek his or her welfare. The ma’apilim, though they meant well, didn’t listen to G‑d and Moses—whose trust they had broken just a night earlier.

Footnotes

1. An ancient Israeli city.

2.Rashi on Numbers 14:44.

3.Numbers 14:29–33.

4.Guide for the Perplexed 3, 32. For another, more chassidic, interpretation, read So Long in the Desert.

5.Numbers 14:40–43.

6. Ibid. 14:44–45.

7.Deuteronomy 1:44.

8.Numbers Rabbah 17:3, cited in Rashi on Deuteronomy 1:44.

9.Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra and Rabbi Bachya ibn Pekuda on Deuteronomy 1:44.

10.Rabbi Joseph Bechor Shor on Deuteronomy 1:44; see also Rabbi Chizkiya ben Manoach (Chizkuni) ad loc.

11.Rabbi Yehudah ben Beseirah, Talmud, Shabbat 97a.

12. Rabbi Akiva, Talmud, Shabbat 96b, says that Zelophehad died because he gathered wood on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32).

13.Numbers 13:26–33.

14.See Numbers 14:3.

15. See, for example, Midrash Exodus Rabbah 3:12: “Ma’aminim bnei ma’aminim—believers, children of believers.”

16.Ruach sh’tut. See Talmud, Sotah 3a.

17.Tanya, end of ch. 29.

18.Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar (Or HaChaim) on Numbers 14:44.

19.Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar (Or HaChaim) on Deuteronomy 1:43.

20.Deuteronomy 1:43.

21.19th-century biblical commentary, Haamek Davar, on Numbers 14:45.

22.Midrash Shir Hashirim Rabbah 7:8.

23.19th-century chassidic master, Tzidkat Hatzadik, ch. 46 and Pri Tzadik, Miketz 2.

24.This is an idea that can be traced to the earliest kabbalists (Rabbi Eliyahu de Vidas, 16th century, Reishit Chochmah, Shaar Hakedushah 17:21; Rabbi Moses Cordovero, 16th century, quoted in Alpha Beisa Tanisa D’Shmuel Zeira, vol. 1, pp. 335–339) and is based on the Talmudic dictum “One must listen to one’s host unless he asks him to leave” (Pesachim 86b). The host is G‑d. One must listen to G‑d unless He tells man that he can no longer repent (“leave from me”). Then, man must repent nonetheless because G‑d’s true desire is that he repent. Compare this to a father who warns his son that if he commits a certain crime, he would never look at him again. Ultimately, the parent will forgive the child if he sees his remorse is absolutely genuine.

25. Rabbi Yaacov Tzvi Mecklenburg (Haketav Vehakabbalah on Deuteronomy 1:41) points out that the ma’apilim merely said, “We sinned.” To repent truly, he says, one must ask for G‑d’s forgiveness. In addition, the ma’apilim refer to G‑d in the third person, “We sinned against G‑d,” instead of directing the confession toward Him, “We sinned against You.”

26.A similar interpretation is brought in Eliyahu Kitov’s Sefer Haparshiyot in the name of the Chatam Sofer.

27. Sichot Kodesh, Pinchas 5728, 373.

28.Igrot Kodesh, vol. 7, p. 280.

As taken from, https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/4408391/jewish/Maapilim-The-Little-Known-Warriors-Who-Disregarded-Moses.htm

¿Por qué Jerusalem es importante?

por Shraga Simmons

¿Por qué Jerusalem es importante?
Durante los milenios de exilio, los judíos siempre se dirigieron hacia Jerusalem.
¿Cuál es el recuerdo que deseaban preservar?

Jerusalem no tiene valor estratégico. Tampoco tiene importancia comercial o industrial, y no es un centro cultural.

¿Cómo fue que esta antigua ciudad, aparentemente sin importancia, se convirtió en el eje de la discordia entre Israel y los palestinos respecto al futuro de la tierra de Israel? ¿Por qué debe preocuparnos lo que ocurre con Jerusalem?

Tenemos que comenzar por entender la importancia de la memoria. La memoria no es historia ni recuerdos muertos. Por definición, los recuerdos del pasado crean el presente. La represión de los recuerdos crea enfermedades mentales. La salud llega con la recuperación de la memoria. Los dictadores consolidan su poder alterando la memoria. Stalin borró de las fotografías a Trotsky y a Bujarin. Los revisionistas niegan que el Holocausto haya sucedido. ¿Por qué esto es importante?

En hebreo, hombre se dice “zajar”. Memoria se dice “zejer”. El hombre es la memoria. La gente que sufre pérdida de la memoria por una enfermedad o un accidente no sólo olvida dónde puso las llaves. Pierden su mismo ser. Se pierden en el tiempo, están a la deriva, porque sin memoria el momento actual no tiene contexto ni significado.

La primera vez que los judíos fueron exilados de Jerusalem, el Rey David dijo: “Si te olvidara Jerusalem, que mi mano derecha pierda su fuerza. Que mi lengua se pegue a mi paladar si dejo de recordarte, si dejo de elevar a Jerusalem por sobre mi mayor alegría”. El recuerdo de Jerusalem de alguna manera está ligado a nuestro vigor actual como pueblo. ¿Pero de qué manera? ¿Cuál es el recuerdo de Jerusalem y qué es lo que él contribuye a lo que somos?

El recuerdo de Jerusalem de alguna manera está ligado a nuestro vigor actual como pueblo.

Londres viene de una palabra céltica que significa “un pueblo salvaje y de madera”. El Cairo es la versión española del nombre árabe de Marte, el dios romano de la guerra. París recibió su nombre por el París del mito griego, a quien los dioses le dieron a elegir entre amor, sabiduría y poder. Él eligió el amor, el amor de Elena de Troya.

El Talmud dice que Jerusalem recibió su nombre de Dios. El nombre tiene dos partes: Irá, que significa “ver” y shalem, que significa “paz”.

Jerusalem es el lugar donde Abraham fue a sacrificar a Itzjak, y Abraham dijo de Jerusalem: “Este es el lugar donde se ve a Dios”.

En cualquier otro lado, Dios es una teoría, pero en Jerusalem se ve a Dios, se lo siente, es una presencia tangible. En Jerusalem vamos más allá de la fragilidad y de la vulnerabilidad de nuestras vidas; sentimos y deseamos la trascendencia. En cualquier otro lugar buscamos a tientas el entendimiento. En Jerusalem anticipamos la claridad. París puede ser para los amantes, pero Jerusalem es para los visionarios.

En Jerusalem se ve a Dios, se lo siente, es una presencia tangible.

Jerusalem es una metáfora de un mundo perfeccionado, y nos da una perspectiva sobre nuestras vidas. Cuando Aldous Huxley dijo: “Cada uno tiene su Jerusalem”, se refirió a mucho más que a una ciudad temporal con taxis y embotellamientos de tránsito. Él aludió a una visión de lo que puede ser la vida.

Nos rendimos a la visión de la promesa de la vida porque nos da fuerzas para vivir. Durante los dos mil años de exilio, los judíos dijeron: “El próximo año en Jerusalem”, y en medio de la pobreza y la opresión preservaron el sueño de un mundo en el cual el hombre va a vivir por el amor y la justicia y no por el poder y los intereses personales.

Una parte del nombre de Jerusalem significa “visión”. La otra parte del nombre significa paz, pero la paz de Jerusalem no es la ausencia de conflicto. Jerusalem prácticamente no conoció otra cosa más que conflicto. La paz de Jerusalem es la paz en el centro de los rayos de una rueda, donde las fuerzas opuestas pueden estar delicadamente equilibradas y reconciliadas.

El Talmud dice que la creación comenzó en Jerusalem, y desde allí el mundo se expandió. Los mapas medievales muestran a Jerusalem en el epicentro de Asia, Europa y África. El mundo fluye desde ese sitio, y allí resuenan todas las fuerzas vitales. Desde este lugar, todo el mundo adquiere perspectiva.

Jerusalem, el centro que da perspectiva al resto del mundo. Jerusalem, donde se ve a Dios. Jerusalem, el mundo perfeccionado. La humanidad hace mucho ha entendido que quien controla a Jerusalem controla la memoria del mundo. Controla la forma en que se ve a Dios. Controla la manera en que las fuerzas vitales son puestas en perspectiva. Controla cómo vemos colectivamente nuestro futuro.

En una época, el Monte del Templo era el punto más alto de la ciudad de Jerusalem, pero en el año 135 los esclavos romanos sacaron la tierra de la montaña y la convirtieron en el valle que ahora nosotros observamos hacia abajo desde la Ciudad Vieja. Los romanos expulsaron a los judíos de Jerusalem y les impidieron volver a entrar bajo pena de muerte. Ellos proclamaron que la vida judía había terminado.

Los cruzados reescribieron la importancia de Jerusalem, ya no más el centro del drama nacional judío, sino el sitio de la pasión y muerte de Jesús. Al igual que los romanos, ellos expulsaron a los judíos y destruyeron las sinagogas.

Después llegaron los musulmanes, y al igual que sus predecesores volvieron a escribir la memoria de Jerusalem, expulsando a los judíos y a los cristianos. Sistemáticamente construyeron mezquitas en casa sitio sagrado judío. Borraron todo el pasado.

Al reescribir la historia de Jerusalem, cada una de estas culturas volvió a escribir nuestro lugar, el lugar judío, en la historia. Ellos creyeron consignarnos al basurero de la historia: una vez un gran pueblo, ahora abandonados por Dios. Superados por el tiempo.

En Jerusalem, cada cultura volvió a escribir el lugar judío en la historia.

Pero los judíos preservaron a Jerusalem como un recuerdo. Cuando construimos nuestras casas dejamos un cuadrado sin revocar y rompemos una copa en las bodas en recuerdo de Jerusalem. Desde todos los rincones del mundo nos damos vuelta y rezamos en dirección a Jerusalem, y debido a que ese recuerdo se mantuvo vivo, el pueblo judío vive.

Cuando Jerusalem fue liberada, el tiempo se confundió. El pasado se volvió presente. Lo que tanto ansiábamos se volvió nuestro. Lo que habíamos soñado se volvió real, y los soldados lloraron porque un país adolescente del Mediterráneo de repente recuperó la memoria perdida durante 2.000 años. El pasado instantáneamente fue el presente, increíble y trascendentalmente, transformando lo que sabíamos que éramos.

¿Quiénes somos? No somos itinerantes despreciados y pobres, que sobreviven gracias a la buena voluntad de otras naciones, No somos una nación de campesinos que recuperan pantanos, ni guerreros… aunque cuando es necesario somos todas estas cosas.

Somos una nación de sacerdotes y profetas, una luz para la humanidad. Nosotros le enseñamos al mundo “a transformar sus espadas en arados”, “a amar al prójimo como a ti mismo”, la igualdad ante la justicia, y que la admiración no pertenece a los ricos y poderosos sino al bueno, al sabio, al bondadoso. Hitler dijo: “Los judíos infligieron dos heridas a la humanidad: la circuncisión en el cuerpo y la consciencia en el alma”. ¡Cuánta razón tenía y cuánto más tenemos que hacer! ¡Qué trágico es cuando nos fallamos a nosotros mismos!

De por sí dividido por el lenguaje, la geografía e incluso por la religión, nuestro pueblo sólo está unido por los hilos de la memoria y de la esperanza. Estos hilos son sumamente frágiles. Si se cortan nos fragmentaremos, y el Talmud dice que el largo y amargo exilio de nuestro pueblo (que todavía no ha culminado por completo), es consecuencia de las disensiones que nos dividen.

A esta amenaza, Jerusalem provee un contrapunto, porque Jerusalem personifica nuestros recuerdos y esperanzas. Jerusalem es una memoria viva, una visión de Dios en nuestras vidas, una imagen de un mundo perfeccionado. Jerusalem nos da la fuerza para lograr lo que debemos hacer como pueblo, para unirnos y santificar este mundo.

Por eso Jerusalem es importante.

Segun tomado de, https://www.aishlatino.com/iymj/j/Por-que-Jerusalem-es-importante.html?s=sh1

Argument for the Sake of Heaven

by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

The Korach rebellion was not just the worst of the revolts from the wilderness years. It was also different in kind because it was a direct assault on Moses and Aaron. Korach and his fellow rebels in essence accused Moses of nepotism, of failure, and above all of being a fraud – of attributing to God decisions and laws that Moses had devised himself for his own ends. So grave was the attack that it became, for the Sages, a paradigm of the worst kind of disagreement:

Which is an argument for the sake of Heaven? The argument between Hillel and Shammai. Which is an argument not for the sake of Heaven? The argument of Korach and his company. (Mishnah Avot 5:17)

Menahem Meiri (Catalonia, 1249–1306) explains this teaching in the following terms:

The argument between Hillel and Shammai: In their debates, one of them would render a decision and the other would argue against it, out of a desire to discover the truth, not out of cantankerousness or a wish to prevail over his fellow. An argument not for the sake of Heaven was that of Korach and his company, for they came to undermine Moses, our master, may he rest in peace, and his position, out of envy and contentiousness and ambition for victory.[1]

The Sages were drawing a fundamental distinction between two kinds of conflict: argument for the sake of truth and argument for the sake of victory.

The passage must be read this way, because of the glaring discrepancy between what the rebels said and what they sought. What they said was that the people did not need leaders. They were all holy. They had all heard the word of God. There should be no distinction of rank, no hierarchy of holiness, within Israel. “Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” (Num. 16:3). Yet from Moses’ reply, it is clear that he had heard something altogether different behind their words:

Moses also said to Korach, “Now listen, you Levites! Is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near Himself to do the work at the Lord’s Tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near Himself, but now you are trying to get the Priesthood too.” (Num. 16:8–10)

It was not that they wanted a community without leaders. It is, rather, that they wanted to be the leaders. The rebels’ rhetoric had nothing to do with the pursuit of truth and everything to do with the pursuit of honour, status, and (as they saw it) power. They wanted not to learn but to win. They sought not verity but victory.

We can trace the impact of this in terms of the sequence of events that followed. First, Moses proposed a simple test. Let the rebels bring an offering of incense the next day and God would show whether He accepted or rejected their offering. This is a rational response. Since what was at issue was what God wanted, let God decide. It was a controlled experiment, an empirical test. God would let the people know, in an unambiguous way, who was right. It would establish, once and for all, the truth.

But Moses did not stop there, as he would have done if truth were the only issue involved. As we saw in the quote above, Moses tried to argue Korach out of his dissent, not by addressing his argument but by speaking to the resentment that lay behind it. He told him that he had been given a position of honour. He may not have been a Priest but he was a Levite, and the Levites had special sacred status not shared by the other tribes. He was telling him to be satisfied with the honour he had and not let his ambition overreach itself.

He then turned to Datan and Aviram, the Reubenites. Given the chance, he would have said something different to them since the source of their discontent was different from that of Korach. But they refused to meet with him altogether – another sign that they were not interested in the truth. They had rebelled out of a profound sense of slight that the tribe of Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn son, seemed to have been left out altogether from the allocation of honours.

At this point, the confrontation became yet more intense. For the one and only time in his life, Moses staked his leadership on the occurrence of a miracle:

Then Moses said, “By this you shall know that it was the Lord who sent me to do all these things, that they were not of my own devising: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.” (Num. 16:28–30)

No sooner had he finished speaking than “the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them” (Num. 16:32). The rebels “went down alive into the grave” (16:33). One cannot imagine a more dramatic vindication. God had shown, beyond possibility of doubt, that Moses was right and the rebels wrong. Yet this did not end the argument. That is what is extraordinary. Far from being apologetic and repentant, the people returned the next morning still complaining – this time, not about who should lead whom but about the way Moses had chosen to end the dispute: “The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. ‘You have killed the Lord’s people,’ they said” (17:6).

You may be right, they implied, and Korach may have been wrong. But is this a way to win an argument? To cause your opponents to be swallowed up alive? This time, God suggested an entirely different way of resolving the dispute. He told Moses to have each of the tribes take a staff and write their name on it, and place them in the Tent of Meeting. On the staff of the tribe of Levi, he should write the name of Aaron. One of the staffs would sprout, and that would signal whom God had chosen. The tribes did so, and the next morning they returned to find that Aaron’s staff had budded, blossomed, and produced almonds. That, finally, ended the argument (Num. 17:16–24).

What resolved the dispute, in other words, was not a show of power but something altogether different. We cannot be sure, because the text does not spell this out, but the fact that Aaron’s rod produced almond blossoms seems to have had rich symbolism. In the Near East, the almond is the first tree to blossom, its white flowers signalling the end of winter and the emergence of new life. In his first prophetic vision, Jeremiah saw a branch of an almond tree (shaked) and was told by God that this was a sign that He, God, was “watching” (shoked) to see that His word was fulfilled (Jer. 1:11–12).[2] The almond flowers recalled the gold flowers on the Menorah (Ex. 25:31; 37:17), lit daily by Aaron in the Sanctuary. The Hebrew word tzitz, used here to mean “blossom,” recalls the tzitz, the “frontlet” of pure gold worn as part of Aaron’s headdress, on which were inscribed the words “Holy to the Lord” (Ex. 28:36).[3] The sprouting almond branch was therefore more than a sign. It was a multifaceted symbol of life, light, holiness, and the watchful presence of God.

One could almost say that the almond branch symbolised the priestly will to life as against the rebels’ will to power.[4] The Priest does not rule the people; he blesses them. He is the conduit through which God’s life-giving energies flow.[5] He connects the nation to the Divine Presence. Moses answered Korach in Korach’s terms, by a show of force. God answered in a quite different way, showing that leadership is not self-assertion but self-effacement.

What the entire episode shows is the destructive nature of argument not for the sake of Heaven – that is, argument for the sake of victory. In such a conflict, what is at stake is not truth but power, and the result is that both sides suffer. If you win, I lose. But if I win, I also lose, because in diminishing you, I diminish myself. Even a Moses is brought low, laying himself open to the charge that “you have killed the Lord’s people.” Argument for the sake of power is a lose-lose scenario.

The opposite is the case when the argument is for the sake of truth. If I win, I win. But if I lose I also win – because being defeated by the truth is the only form of defeat that is also a victory.

In a famous passage, the Talmud explains why Jewish law tend to follow the view of the School of Hillel rather than their opponents, the School of Shammai:

[The law is in accord with the School of Hillel] because they were kindly and modest, because they studied not only their own rulings but also those of the School of Shammai, and because they taught the words of the School of Shammai before their own. (Eiruvin 13b)

They sought truth, not victory. That is why they listened to the views of their opponents, and indeed taught them before they taught their own traditions. In the eloquent words of a contemporary scientist, Timothy Ferris:

All who genuinely seek to learn, whether atheist or believer, scientist or mystic, are united in having not a faith, but faith itself. Its token is reverence, its habit to respect the eloquence of silence. For God’s hand may be a human hand, if you reach out in loving kindness, and God’s voice your voice, if you but speak the truth.[6]

Judaism has sometimes been called a “culture of argument.”[7] It is the only religious literature known to me whose key texts – the Hebrew Bible, Midrash, Mishnah, Talmud, the codes of Jewish law, and the compendia of biblical interpretation – are anthologies of arguments. That is the glory of Judaism. The Divine Presence is to be found not in this voice as against that, but in the totality of the conversation.[8]

In an argument for the sake of truth, both sides win, for each is willing to listen to the views of its opponents, and is thereby enlarged. In argument as the collaborative pursuit of truth, the participants use reason, logic, shared texts, and shared reverence for texts. They do not use ad hominem arguments, abuse, contempt, or disingenuous appeals to emotion. Each is willing, if refuted, to say, “I was wrong.” There is no triumphalism in victory, no anger or anguish in defeat.

The story of Korach remains the classic example of how argument can be dishonoured. The Schools of Hillel and Shammai remind us that there is another way. “Argument for the sake of Heaven” is one of Judaism’s noblest ideals – conflict resolution by honouring both sides and employing humility in the pursuit of truth.

Shabbat Shalom

[1] Meiri, Beit HaBechira ad loc.

[2] See L. Yarden, The Tree of Light (London: East and West Library, 1971), 40–42.

[3] There may also be a hint of a connection with the tzitzit, the fringes with their thread of blue, that according to the Midrash was the occasion for the Korach revolt.

[4] On the contemporary relevance of this, see Jonathan Sacks, Not in God’s Name (New York: Schocken, 2015), 252–268.

[5] The phrase that comes to mind is Dylan Thomas’ “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” (from the poem by the same name). Just as life flows through the tree to produce flowers and fruit, so a Divine life force flows through the Priest to produce blessings among the people.

[6] Timothy Ferris, The Whole Shebang (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997), 312.

[7] David Dishon, The Culture of Argument in Judaism [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Schocken, 1984).

[8] I have written more extensively on this in Future Tense (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2009), 181–206.

As taken from, http://rabbisacks.org/argument-for-the-sake-of-heaven-korach-5779/

Fear of Freedom

by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

The episode of the spies was one of the most tragic in the entire Torah. Who sent them and to what end is not entirely clear. In this week’s parsha, the text says that it was God who told Moses to do so (Num. 13:1–2). In Deuteronomy (1:22), Moses says that it was the people who made the request. Either way, the result was disaster. An entire generation was deprived of the chance to enter the Promised Land. The entry itself was delayed by forty years. According to the Sages, it cast its shadow long into the future.[1]

Moses told the spies to go and see the land and bring back a report about it: Are the people many or few, strong or weak? What is the land itself like? Are the cities open or fortified? Is the soil fertile? They were also tasked with bringing back some of its fruit. The spies returned with a positive report about the land itself: “It is indeed flowing with milk and honey, and this is its fruit” There then followed one of the most famous ‘buts’ in Jewish history: “But – the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak [‘the giant’] there” (Num. 13:28).

Sensing that their words were demoralising the people, Caleb, one of the spies, interrupted with a message of reassurance: “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” However, the other spies insisted: “We cannot attack those people; they are stronger than we are.… All the people we saw there are of great size.… We seemed like grasshoppers…” (Num. 13:30–33). The next day, the people, persuaded that the challenge was completely beyond them, expressed regret that they had ever embarked on the Exodus and said, “Let us appoint a leader and go back to Egypt” (Num. 14:4).

Thus far the narrative. However, it is monumentally difficult to understand. It was this that led the Lubavitcher Rebbe to give a radically revisionary interpretation of the episode.[2] He asked the obvious question. How could ten of the spies come back with a defeatist report? They had seen with their own eyes how God had sent a series of plagues that brought Egypt, the strongest and longest-lived of all the empires of the ancient world, to its knees. They had seen the Egyptian army with its cutting-edge military technology, the horse-drawn chariot, drown in the sea while the Israelites passed through it on dry land. Egypt was far stronger than the Canaanites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and other minor kingdoms that they would have to confront in conquering the land. Nor was this an ancient memory. It had happened not much more than a year before.

What is more, they were entirely wrong about the people of the land. We discover this from the book of Joshua, in the passage read as the haftarah to Shelach Lecha. When Joshua sent spies to Jericho, the woman who sheltered them, Rahab, described for them what her people felt when they heard that that the Israelites were on their way:

I know that the Lord has given this land to you. A great fear of you has fallen on us…We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt.… When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. (Josh. 2:9–11)

The people of Jericho were not giants. They were as fearful of the Israelites as the Israelites were of them. Nor was this something that was disclosed only later. The Israelites of Moses’ day had already sung in the Song at the Sea:

The peoples have heard; they tremble;

Pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.

Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;

Trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;

All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.

Terror and dread fall upon them;

Because of the greatness of Your arm, they are still as a stone.

(Ex. 15:14–16)

How was it that they forgot what, not long before, they knew?

What is more, continued the Rebbe, the spies were not people plucked at random from among the population. The Torah states that they were “men who were heads of the People of Israel.” They were leaders. They were not people given lightly to fear. The questions are straightforward, but the answer the Rebbe gave was utterly unexpected. The spies were not afraid of failure, he said. They were afraid of success.

Never had a people lived so close to God.

If they entered the land, their lifestyle of camping around the Sanctuary, eating manna from heaven, living in continuous contact with the Shechinah would vanish. They would have to fight battles, maintain an army, create an economy, farm the land, worry about the weather and their crops, and all the other thousand distractions that come from living in the world. What would happen to their closeness to God? They would be preoccupied with mundane and material pursuits. Here they could spend their entire lives learning Torah, lit by the radiance of the Divine. There they would be one more nation in a world of nations with the same kind of economic, social, and political problems that every other nation has to deal with.

They were afraid of success, and the subsequent change it would bring about. They wanted to spend their lives in the closest possible proximity to God. What they did not understand was that God seeks, in the Midrashic phrase, “a dwelling in the lower worlds.”[3] One of the great differences between Judaism and other religions is that while others seek to lift people to heaven, Judaism seeks to bring heaven down to earth.

Much of Torah is about things not conventionally seen as religious at all: labour relations, agriculture, welfare provisions, loans and debts, land ownership, and so on. It is not difficult to have an intense religious experience in the desert, or in a monastic retreat, or in an ashram. Most religions have holy places and holy people who live far removed from the stresses and strains of everyday life. About this there is nothing unusual at all.

But that is not the Jewish project, the Jewish mission. God wanted the Israelites to create a model society where human beings were not treated as slaves, where rulers were not worshipped as demigods, where human dignity was respected, where law was impartially administered to rich and poor alike, where no one was destitute, no one was abandoned to isolation, no one was above the law, and no realm of life was a morality-free zone. That requires a society, and a society needs a land. It requires an economy, an army, fields and flocks, labour and enterprise. All these, in Judaism, become ways of bringing the Shechinah into the shared spaces of our collective life.

The spies did not doubt that Israel could win its battles with the inhabitants of the land. Their concern was not physical but spiritual. They did not want to leave the wilderness. They did not want to become just another nation among the nations of the earth. They did not want to lose their unique relationship with God in the reverberating silence of the desert, far removed from civilisation and its discontents. This was the mistake of deeply religious men – but it was a mistake.

Clearly, this is not the plain sense of the narrative, but we should not dismiss it on that account. It is, as it were, a psychoanalytical reading of the unconscious mindset of the spies. They did not want to let go of the intimacy and innocence of the time-out-of-time and place-out-of-place that was the experience of the wilderness. Ultimately the spies feared freedom and its responsibilities.

But Torah is about the responsibilities of freedom. Judaism is not a religion of monastic retreat from the world. It is a religion of engagement with the world. God chose Israel to make His presence visible in the world. Therefore Israel must live in the world. The Jewish people were not without their desert-dwellers and ascetics. The Talmud speaks of R. Shimon b. Yochai living for thirteen years in a cave. When he emerged, he could not bear to see people engaged in such earthly pursuits as ploughing a field (Shabbat 33b). He held that engagement with the world was fundamentally incompatible with the heights of spirituality (Brachot 35b). But the mainstream held otherwise.[4] It maintained that “Torah study without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin” (Mishnah Avot 2:2).

Maimonides speaks of people who live as hermits in the desert to escape the corruptions of society.[5] But these were the exceptions, not the rule. It is not the destiny of Israel to live outside time and space as the world’s recluses. Far from being the supreme height of faith, such a fear of freedom and its responsibilities is, according to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the sin of the spies.

They did not want to contaminate Judaism by bringing it into contact with the real world. They sought the eternal dependence of God’s protection and the endless embrace of His all-encompassing love. There is something noble about this desire, but also something profoundly irresponsible. The spies demoralised the people and provoked the anger of God. The Jewish project – the Torah as the constitution of the Jewish nation under the sovereignty of God – is about building a society in the land of Israel that so honours human dignity and freedom that it will one day lead the world to say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deut. 4:6).

The Jewish task is not to fear the real world but to enter and transform it, healing some of its wounds and bringing to places often shrouded in darkness fragments of Divine light.

Shabbat Shalom

NOTES

[1] On the phrase, “the people wept that night” (Num. 14:1), the Talmud says that God vowed, “I will make this a day of weeping throughout the generations.” That day was Tisha B’Av, on which, in later centuries, the First and Second Temples were destroyed (Taanit 29aSota 35a).

[2] A translation can be found in Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Torah Studies, adapted by Jonathan Sacks (London: Lubavitch Foundation, 1986), 239–245.

[3] See Midrash Tanchuma, parshat Naso 16.

[4] Brachot 35b cites the view of R. Ishmael as evaluated by Abaye.

[5] Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 6:1; Shemoneh Perakim, ch. 4.

As taken from, http://rabbisacks.org/fear-of-freedom-shelach-lecha-5779/

On Being Called a Rabbi & Third-Epoch Halacha

by Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

In your writings, you quote both rabbis and philosophers. On the one hand, you draw your insights from great rabbis such as the Rambam, the Kotzker Rebbe, Rav Kook, Rav Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Rav Eliezer Berkovits. On the other hand, you seem to equally find inspiration from great philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza, Emmanuel Levinas, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber. Rabbis tend to focus on loyalty to tradition, while philosophers seem to feel freer to question and seek truth regardless of tradition. Rav Cardozo, do you see yourself more as a rabbi, or as a philosopher? And part two of this question: Do you think that having the official title of “Rabbi Cardozo” suppresses your true thoughts, or does it rather help to express them?

While I am proud to be called “Rabbi” Cardozo, I also feel handicapped by the title. First of all, it’s an enormous responsibility to be called “rabbi.” The moment you carry that title, you are held to higher moral standards than most other people, and you need to always be on your best behavior. People expect you to behave like an angel, which is extremely hard because at the end of the day you’re just a human being with all the limitations that go along with it. Who says I am able to live up to this? I do my best but I know my shortcomings. So this title of rabbi is somewhat unsettling.

But there is much more. As a rabbi, you are expected to toe the rabbinical party line. One has to comply with other “greater” and more influential rabbis and chief rabbis, and you’re not allowed to express your own ideas and halachic insights unless you work by the conventional guidelines established by most present-day halachists who have, in my humble opinion, a most narrow reading of Halacha.

This was not the case in the past, when it was taken for granted that there was freedom of expression and any rabbi could suggest his ideas without them being vetoed. Sure, he had to show that his arguments were based on a proper halachic argument and profound Talmudic scholarship. But that scholarship included minority opinions, unusual readings of the Talmud, the courage to state that some Talmudic rules no longer applied, and taking into account that the Talmud came into existence in a particular period in history. Later Halacha often veered from the Talmud’s rulings, sometimes to the extreme. (To study how far this went and to what extent Halacha has changed over the years since the days of the Talmud, the best sources are Menachem Elon’s four-volume work Jewish Law: History, Sources, Principles, JPS, Philadelphia/Jerusalem, 5754/1994 and Louis Jacobs’ A Tree of Life: Diversity, Flexibility, and Creativity in Jewish Law, 2nd edition, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, London/Oregon, 2000)

Every halachic authority should read these and similar works, in order to have a profound understanding of what Halacha is all about and how it developed. (Yes, it developed! It is organic, and that is its vitality!)

Without that knowledge, it is entirely impossible to pasken (decide) Halacha correctly.

Now is neither the time nor the place to discuss the world of “Meta Halacha,” which gives much more attention to the ideological, theological, and religious dimensions of the world of Halacha and its application. To study that topic, see Philosophia shel Halacha (Hebrew), edited by Avinoam Rosenak, Machon Van Leer, Jerusalem, 2012; Masa el HaHalacha (Hebrew), edited by Amichai Berholtz, Yediot Acharonot, Jerusalem, 2003; Philosophia shel Halacha (Hebrew), edited by Aviezer Ravitzky and Avinoam Rosenak, Machon Van Leer, Jerusalem, 2008; and HaHalacha haNevu’it (Hebrew), edited by Avinoam Rosenak, Magnes, Jerusalem, 5766.

This open-mindedness was even truer regarding theological matters, where one could express almost any opinion as long as it wouldn’t undermine basic Jewish beliefs, which in themselves are very flexible and open to debate. Just think of the fundamental disagreements between Maimonides’ philosophical work Guide for the Perplexed and the celebrated Kuzari of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi (c. 1075-1141). One should also not forget that Maimonides’ famous 13 principles of faith, in which he tried to establish dogmas, came under heavy fire and were never accepted as axiomatic. (See Marc B. Shapiro’s The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles Reappraised, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, Oxford/Oregon, 2004 and Menachem Kellner’s Must a Jew Believe Anything?, 2nd edition, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2006.)

* * * * * *

Since I view all literature as a commentary on the Torah— because the Torah is the blueprint of the world—all philosophies, whether of Baruch Spinoza, Emmanuel Levinas, Franz Rosenzweig, or Martin Buber, are part of this blueprint and consequently must be able to fit into the great tradition called Judaism. One can bring everything back to Torah, and nothing has to be left out. Sure, it means that we have to think through some of these philosophers’ ideas, reformulate them, and expand on them, but ultimately they will find their way back to Torah. Even atheism has religious meaning. (See Alasdair Macintyre & Paul Ricoeur’s The Religious Significance of Atheism, Columbia University Press, NY, 1967)

Just take notice of the remarkable observation by the eminent Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi (1513-1586)—disciple of both Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575), author of the Shulchan Aruch, and Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508-c.1600)—who was a most original Torah commentator. He writes:

Concerning the faith in the (contemporary) human being, it is said in Parashat Nitzavim (Devarim 29:13-14) “And not with you alone do I establish this covenant…but with those who are here with us and with those who are not here with us today.” Therefore, each and every one of us, our children and grandchildren, until the conclusion of all the generations who have entered the covenant, are duty-bound to examine the secrets of the Torah and to straighten out our faith concerning it, by accepting the truth from whoever says it…. Nor should we be concerned about the logic of others—even if they preceded us—preventing our own individual investigation. Much to the contrary…. Just as (our forebears) did not wish to indiscriminately accept the truth from those who preceded them, and that which they did not choose (to accept) they rejected, so it is fitting for us to do…. Only on the basis of gathering many different opinions will the truth be tested. Thus, it is valuable to us to complete the views (of our predecessors) and to investigate (the meaning of the Torah) in accordance with our own mind’s understanding.

And even if in the course of investigation into the secrets of the Torah through our love for it, we err, it will not be judged against us, even as an unwitting thing, because our intent was for the sake of Heaven. But we shall be guilty if we desist from investigating the secrets of our Torah by declaring: The lions have already established supremacy, so let us accept their words as they are…. Rather, it is proper for us to investigate and analyze according to our understanding and to write our interpretations for the good of those who come after us, whether they will agree or not….

You must struggle to scale the heights and to understand our Torah…. and do not be dismayed by the names of the great personalities when you find them in disagreement with your belief; you must investigate and choose, because for this purpose were you created, and wisdom was granted you from Above, and this will benefit you…. (Sefer Ma’asei Hashem, Sha’ar Ma’aseh Torah, Parashat Balak, Merkaz HaSefer, Jerusalem, 2005).

Indeed, this sage wisdom is often forgotten in certain religious circles, a phenomenon that has been detrimental to the future of a living Judaism. Yes, there are rules of interpretation and nobody can just disagree with the foundations of Judaism. But within those very flexible parameters, the call to fresh thinking is fundamental in order to guarantee the Torah’s eternal message.

Now, however, a good part of the rabbinical establishment has decided that this is no longer the case. One must follow whatever Maimonides and the gedolei hador (great rabbis of our generation), and others say; even when it has nothing to do with Halacha and is purely aggadic or theological.

This is called Da’as Torah, a claim that in non-halachic matters these rabbis have a kind of prophetic insight that makes their philosophies and ideologies infallible and not to be questioned. It is a modern invention and as un-Jewish as can be. It’s unclear to me why this idea was suddenly introduced. Some of its critics maintain that it’s only to give these rabbis more authority and power. It probably became very popular because it functioned as an escape from thinking on your own, making your own decisions, and taking responsibility. It reminds me of the infallibility of the papacy and the theology of dogma as presented by the Church.

To me, all of this is unacceptable because my reading of authentic Judaism tells me that it’s completely untrue. Sure, I believe that there is something called “Torah inspired” and that prominent rabbis can give advice based on their understanding of the Torah. But this can include many opposing ideas; no one can claim that their idea is the only true prophetic one.

This relates to still another factor. As a rabbi, I am constantly being asked to defend the “rabbinical position” on a variety of subjects: Da’as Torah; the position of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate on some crucial issues, such as the aguna problem; giyur (conversion); homosexuality; the validity or illegality of a get (bill of divorce); the very need for a get; and more. I am absolutely not prepared to do that, because I vehemently oppose their attitudes on some of these matters, based on halachic sources.

This puts me in an awkward position. First of all, because these rabbis are my colleagues, some of them are even my friends, and I love and respect them. Secondly, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m out to undermine their positions and harm them financially. Or that I consider myself to be a greater halachist than they are. I’m not. But I cannot deny that I know many things they don’t know in the fields of halachic innovation and Jewish theology, which only few halachists have been educated in.

It reminds me of an observation once made by Chief Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz of England (1872-1946), a powerful and militant figure who was a great scholar but not an outstanding talmid chacham, in the conventional sense of the word. (It was said that he was in favor of resolving disagreements by calm discussion— when all other methods had failed!) He was speaking to his Av Beit Din (the head of his rabbinical court), the powerful Dayan Rabbi Yechezkel Abramsky (1886-1976), who in his earlier days was sentenced to five years hard labor in Siberia, where he composed Talmudic commentaries on translucent cigarette papers. I once read in a book or paper which, to my regret, I can no longer identify that Chief Rabbi Hertz said to Dayan Abramsky: It is no doubt true that you know a lot of Halacha that I do not know. But I know a lot of things (in the world of Jewish theology) that you do not know. And that is right to the point.

To a certain extent, this is my problem as well. No doubt I know much less Halacha than some great poskim do, but my reading of the nature of Halacha is very different. Showing me a source that opposes my halachic view doesn’t do much for me, because I know of other views and I know that one can approach such an opinion very differently than some conventional poskim do. That doesn’t diminish my respect for them, but I am definitely not prepared to state that I agree with them. I’ll explain their views to my students, with integrity, but to say that I agree with them would be dishonest.

I am constantly attacked by rabbis and other people who don’t take the time to read carefully what I write and therefore draw erroneous conclusions. Some of these rabbis should know better. They attack me for halachic opinions that they believe are anti-halachic, while in fact I have shown that I rely on renowned halachic authorities whose works and opinions they don’t know. They are guilty of selective reading and are not always honest.

Most important is the fact that I agree with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg that, since the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel, we are going through the birth pangs of a third epoch in Jewish history. See “The Third Era of Jewish History: Power and Politics,” in Perspectives, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, New York, 1981, pp. 45-55. This means that radical changes will take place in the condition and nature of the Jewish people and in Orthodox Judaism and Halacha. While during the last 2,000 years Halacha was “exile-orientated” and “defensive,” we are slowly growing out of this.

It will therefore no longer be possible to apply “exile Halacha,” and sources that until now were the basis for Halacha will have to be replaced by new Orthodox / Israeli “prophetic” Halacha. The first signs of this are already taking place. See LeNevuchei HaDor by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook (1865-1935); Dor Revi’i by Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Glasner (1856-1924); Malki BaKodesh by Rabbi Chaim Hirschensohn (1857-1935); and Halacha: Kocha v’Tafkida by Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992). All of these rabbis were outstanding Orthodox halachists of the past. They were grand visionaries who saw times changing and responded with remarkable erudition. And we see similar signs with great, present-day Orthodox halachists, such as Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber and Rabbi David Bigman. Lately, many articles have been written on this topic. (See, for example, “Welcoming the Jewsraelis” by Alan Rosenbaum, The Jerusalem Post, June 23, 2019.)

I predict that in the next 50 years we’ll see a very different Orthodox Judaism appear. See my recent book, Jewish Law as Rebellion: A Plea for Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage, Urim Publications, Jerusalem/New York, 2018.

I fully understand that I am a threat to my opponents because I stand for these “post-exile” halachic views, while contributing my own as well. It’s a difficult position to be in, since there is so much good in ultra- and modern-Orthodoxy that should not get lost. At the same time, we need to let go of some important but dated matters that are now starting to interfere and hurt the future of this new Orthodox Judaism. In fact, it seems that some Modern Orthodox rabbis are moving over to ultra-Orthodox views regarding Halacha and ideology on topics where they should precisely not be going.

I admit that there is one matter that may seriously challenge my views and those of my colleagues. It is something I struggle with in my own life: How will this new Orthodox Judaism be able to provide enough inspiration to our young people and ensure that they see their Judaism as the great passion of their lives? I believe that the writings of people like Rabbi Kook and Rabbi Shagar (1949-2007), as well as some others, will be able to help us out and show us the way.

My opponents will have to acquaint themselves with this new literature, halachic thinking and worldview, which they are clearly not aware of. Once they do so and come with clear reasoning to prove me and my colleagues wrong, I will be the first one to listen to them and declare defeat. So far, none of this has happened. Nor does it seem likely to happen anytime soon.

As taken from, https://mailchi.mp/cardozoacademy/ttp-1352929?e=ea5f46c325

¿Cómo tratar con un mentiroso?

¿Cómo tratar con un mentiroso?
por Becky Krinsky

Una persona mentirosa, niega la verdad, manipula sus relaciones personales, confunde, marea, lastima, defrauda y termina por destruir todas sus posibilidades para tener una buena vida. Finalmente, y sin pensar, a la primera persona que un mentiroso miente, es a sí mismo, y esa es la peor mentira que hay.

¿Por qué miente la gente?

Es difícil entender por qué mienten las personas. Desde luego que no es justo decir que todos mienten por una misma razón, sin embargo, hay algunas características que se encuentran presentes en la mayoría de las situaciones, cuando se trata de entender a las personas que mienten.

Una persona miente porque siente vergüenza de alguna mala decisión que tomó. Miente porque no tiene valor para enfrentar su realidad. Porque no se acepta a sí misma y siente la necesidad de fabricar otra personalidad con “mejores atributos” para poder impresionar. Porque quiere conseguir la atención, el cariño o el respeto de otras personas; o simplemente, porque quiere cumplir las expectativas de personas que ha defraudado en el pasado.

Hay personas que mienten porque no saben hablar con la verdad. Es decir, han crecido en un mundo turbio, lleno de mentiras y de traiciones, por lo que les es imposible distinguir la verdad de la falsedad. Estas personas mienten cada vez que tienen una buena oportunidad.

Se dice que hay ocasiones en las que se miente “para no ofender” o “para no faltar el respeto”. Para evitar herir los sentimientos de personas que, a pesar de sus buenas intenciones, su comida, sus combinaciones o sus elecciones no son las mejores.

También existen las personas que mienten por miedo. Temor a ser castigados o por incomodidad a confrontarse con una persona que los puede lastimar. Así, la mentira sirve como escudo y protección emocional.

Finalmente hay personas que mienten por lealtad o por ganase la confianza del núcleo equivocado de amigos.

Hay mentirosos elocuentes, ingeniosos e inteligentes que cuando mienten son profesionales, es imposible detectar la mentira. Dominan el uso de la palabra y conocen a la perfección a las personas que los escuchan.

Claro que también hay aquellos mentirosos que mienten y se les reconoce de inmediato ya que no tienen gracia, no tienen buena imaginación y además tienen mala memoria, se les olvida muy rápido lo que dijeron.

Tarde o temprano nadie les termina creyendo a los mentirosos. De hecho, nadie los escucha, porque, aunque en su mente su intención nunca fue lastimar, terminan causando más daño del que estaban preparados para manejar.

De hecho, el castigo más grande que un mentiroso puede tener es que aún en las ocasiones cuando dicen la verdad, ya nadie les cree.

Los mentirosos cavan su propia tumba, mienten, se creen sus propias mentiras y finalmente se terminan dañado a sí mismos, más que a los demás.

La receta: Valor para decir la verdad

Ingredientes:

  • Responsabilidad – obligación con uno mismo para ser íntegro
  • Conciencia – reconocer el daño que se puede evitar
  • Fortaleza – para confrontar la realidad con honestidad
  • Aceptación – tener valor para verse como uno es, las fortalezas y las debilidades
  • Confianza en uno mismo – seguridad, amor propio y gratitud por quien uno es

Afirmación positiva para no caer en la mentira:

La verdad es una cualidad que me ayuda a enfrentar las situaciones difíciles de mi vida. Ser íntegro y reconocer la realidad que me toca vivir, me hace ser una persona valiosa y digna de ser respetada. Tengo el valor que necesito para hablar con la verdad y conducirme con integridad. Puedo hablar con la verdad, sin lastimar, ni ofender.

Como tratar con gente mentirosa:

  1. A los mentirosos se les conoce y se les reconoce. Hay que tener cuidado para no caer en las trampas y en las manipulaciones de personas que tienen por costumbre platicar historias complicadas y relatar hechos heroicos o aventuras propias.
  2. No hay que tenerle miedo a hablar con la verdad. Siempre se puede aprender a dialogar con claridad, delicadeza y prudencia sin tener que mentir para evitar lastimar.
  3. Es importante cuidar las relaciones personales para no tener que mentir. Duele más una decepción y una traición, que poder hablar con la verdad y enfrentar la realidad por más dolorosa que sea.

Si de verdad quieres a una persona NO le mientas, ni la defraudes, habla con honestidad y defiende tu dignidad”.

Segun tomado de, https://www.aishlatino.com/fm/recetas-para-la-vida/Como-tratar-con-un-mentiroso.html?s=mm