Parashat Vayikra 5772
The qualitative distinction I made between tefilot (prayers) recited in EYY, as opposed to those recited in the galut (exile), continues to arouse visceral reactions. Of the last 10 replies that I received, 8 were negative - 3 of which were grossly insulting not to me but to the senders. Their words were filled with hate and with what is usually associated with hate - intellectual superficiality.
Of the remaining two who sided with me, one was a good Jewish brother living in EYY and the other was a Noachide gentile who wanted to learn what spiritual value Judaism places on the prayers and good deeds of Noachides.
It is to that gentleman that I dedicate this week’s message.
This coming Shabbat, in synagogues the world over, Jews will commence reading "Vayikra," the third book of the Torah, dealing with the many complexities of the Temple service and sacrifices.
The place that HaShem (the Holy Name) established for effectuating the sacrificial service is the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. The individuals who are designated to conduct the sacrificial service are the kohanim, the direct descendants of Aharon, brother of Moshe. And the people who are subject to the many and complex laws, procedures, schedules, specifications and components are the Jewish nation.
This is not to say that we have a monopoly on God. The merciless, egomaniacal, megalomaniac, narcissistic, homicidal Moslem Imams would have you believe that their God has deemed the highest spiritual goal man can achieve is to drive a truck loaded with TNT into a non-Moslem hospital or orphanage and be declared a shahid (martyr), since all non-Moslems are kofrim (infidels) and must be killed.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses is not as many Christians believe that man is born in sin and his only salvation is to accept the divinity of a baby born in a stable in Bethlehem to a virgin Jewish mother. And whoever does not accept the divinity of this Jew can expect to spend the rest of eternity in hell or purgatory.
At Mount Sinai, the Jewish nation met the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses who created a beautiful world to serve the physical and spiritual aspirations of the highest of His creations - human beings, Jew and gentile.
Traditional, rabbinic, historic Judaism negates the existence of organized religions. Our world view is that all men are created for the purpose of serving God according to His will and command.
Adam and Eve were commanded to live according to what we erroneously call today the "Seven Noachide" commandments – erroneous because they were initially commanded to Adam and Eve; and the seven actually encompass numerous details and applications within hundreds of laws, each with specific applications.
Prohibition against theft - shifting a land mark, repudiating a claim of money owed, overcharging, using false weights and measures.
Prohibition against sexual immorality in all its various perversions.
Prohibition against idolatry - against the belief that there exists a deity except the Jewish concept of monotheism, making any graven image.
Commandment to fear God and pray to Him, to honor the scholars, and to revere one's teachers.
Commandment to establish courts of law, to appoint judges and officers in each and every community;
From the entire population of the world, God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the progenitors of the Jewish people. They were destined to become a unique and separate national, religious entity. They were to be elevated in their responsibilities to God from the ranks of the seven Noachide laws to the 613 Torah laws pertaining to every walk of life. God commanded His chosen people to forge a perfect society based on those laws, in the demarcated geographical area specified in the Torah that we call the Land of Israel. The peoples of the world would develop each in his own way in accordance with the orientations of their souls. Some nations would excel in scientific advancements, others in art and other in technology, while the responsibility of the Jewish nation in the Holy Land would be to serve as the conscience and spiritual guides of humanity. The Holy Temple would serve all peoples, according to the details of the Torah. And just as the Kohanim are the spiritual mentors of the Jewish nation, the Jewish nation would fill the role of spiritual mentors to the world.
There is no requirement for a gentile to become a Jew. Maimonides states that a gentile who believes that the seven Noachide laws were given by God for all humanity, and who abides by those laws, is considered to be a righteous person and has a place in the world-to-come.
Since we are prohibited to add religious requirements to what God has given the gentile world’s organized religions are all in breach of the Divine plan – no new Testament or Sacraments; no Ka’ba in Mecca, no Ramadan and no sharia laws.
No thinking person can deny that the world today is facing a bleak future, with the presence of nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable, fanatical leaders. It is a world where human life and dignity are not valued. It is a time of frustration, hunger - a time where there is little hope for an improved future, when nature itself cries out for salvation through earthquakes, tornadoes, drought and floods.
Because the world is in an unnatural state. The Almighty’s design for human beings is as stated above. The Jewish nation, in its entirety must be settled in the entire Land of Israel. The Holy Temple must stand in the sacred precinct of Mount Moriah. Kohanim must offer up sacrifices to God; with the Levites accompanying the service with song. Then humanity will be connected to the Creator through the Noachide laws, and the 613 Torah laws uniquely for the Jewish nation. The world will exist in peace and tranquility, and nature will sing its song of harmony in praise of the Creator.
This is the only hope for mankind.
We are in the throes of the Messianic period, when God has opened the gates of the Land of Israel for His children to return home.
The Jewish people must leave the lands of our exile, and righteous gentiles must do all in their power to assure that the entire Land of Israel be returned to its God-given possessors. This is the call of God to the gentile peoples as proclamed by Isaiah, the prophet of hope and salvation, in chapter 49:
7 This is what the LORD says—
the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him (Israel) who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
to the servant of rulers:
"Kings will see you and stand before you, and princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."
8 This is what the LORD says:
"In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ "They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.
12 See, they will come from afar— some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan."
13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me."
15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
17 Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.
18 Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.
19 "Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away.
20 The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’
21 Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected.Who brought these up?
I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’"
22 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.
23 Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground;
they will lick the dust at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed."
24 Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce?
25 But this is what the LORD says: "Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.
Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
It is incumbent upon every rabbi to encourage his congregants to leave the exile and come home. We must rebuild the physical destruction of the Holy Land, and attain the spiritual level expected from God’s chosen people. Rabbis must restore the desire for the Holy Temple to the consciousness of the Jewish nation after 2000 years of artificial existence without the sacrificial service. And it is incumbent upon every gentile clergyman to direct his flock away from the falsehoods they all inherited, and lead them towards the seven Noachide laws as was commanded by the Creator.
This is the hope, indeed the only hope, for humanity to escape its descent into a future fraught with horror and destruction.
Gentiles of good will with God in their heart must join with the Jewish nation in directing the world towards a spiritual future, where all things will be measured from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Copyright © 5772-2012 Nachman Kahana