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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Israel and the nations - the detailed sources

Drawing on the sources identified in this paper I conclude; Israel’s relationships with the nations has particular relevance to Islam since it is the only mainstream religion that conforms to Torah’s universal laws as evidenced by the fact Halacha (Jewish law) permits a Jew to enter and pray in a mosque.

Parshat Yitro deals with the mystical and psychological relationship between the source of the minds Insight and Wisdom and its reflection from the attribute of Understanding[1] as it relates to the re-incarnation of Cain in Yitro and Abel in Moshe. The Zohar quotes; Yitro and her (Moshes wife) two sons came to Moshe and Moshe went out to meet him. To explain Rabbi Shimon quotes Isaiah 2:3 “ Many people will go and say ‘Come let us go up to the mountain[2] of HaShem, to the house of the God of Jacob, He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths.’ For Zion will come from Torah and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem”.

The Zohar goes on to explain “To the house[3]” – Jacob, who called this place “house”. “Mountain and house” – although all is a single rung [70a] one transcends the other[4]. “Mountain” – for other nations, when they come to enter under Her wings, “House” – for Israel, to be with them as a wife with her husband in one dwelling, in joy, crouching over them like a mother over her children. “…Moses father-in-law, and his sons and his wife came to Moses to the wilderness…”[5]. Since it is written “to Moses to the wilderness” the Zohar explains it to be the “Mountain of Elokim” – a place for converts to convert and whoever comes and attains it and is called “ger tzedeq”[6].

Rashi derives from the phrase “he encountered” that Yaakov prayed at the site of the Beis Hamikdash, and instituted the maariv prayer. There is a Midrash that cites the verse “Give praise to the Lord our strength; blow a teruah to the G-d of Yaakov”[7]. This Midrash asks why Yaakov is singled out here, and answers with a parable. Once a king had three friends to whom he showed a site where he intended to build a palace. The first looked and said, “You mean on that hill,” and the king left him. The second said, “You mean in that field,” and the king also left him. The third friend looked and said, “There’s going to be a palace over there.” The Midrash says that Avraham called the Beis Hamikdash a mountain, Yitzchak called it a field and Yaakov, on the other hand, called it a house, as when he awoke he declared, “this is none other than the House of Hashem.” The Midrash then relates that Hashem said that because Yaakov called it a house even before it was built, it would be called by his name.[8][9]

The Midrash Rabba quotes Rebbi Elazar in the name of Rebbi Yossi Ben Zimri who suggests that the ladder of Yaakov’s dream was rooted in Be’er Sheva, stretched to Beit E-l and had its center at Jerusalem. (Midrash Rabba Bereishit 69:7). The “house” Jacob speaks of is associated with Luz and Beit El, the location of Jacob’s dream, the monument he anointed to God (matzevah), the place Isaac was offered as a sacrifice, the mountain of God identified by Abraham and the field in which Isaac prayed.

Avraham always believed that Avraham and Hagar’s son Yishma'el would be included among the Chosen People. We find signs of this in many places. When Sarah suggested exiling Yishmael and Hagar, "It was very bad in Avraham's eyes, because of his son"[10]. It required a direct mandate from God to force Avraham to send Yishmael away. A more poignant proof is the Midrash cited by Rashi[11] regarding God's command to Avraham to sacrifice Yitzchak.[12]

When did Abraham have a son from Sarah? When he prayed on behalf of Abimelech[13]" [14]

Hagar, also “ha ger” translated “the convert” and Sarah’s concubine with whom Abraham had Ishmael, praises the Seeing God for recognizing her and showing her how to be humble[15]. The term used is אָֽמְרָ֗ה – [a]M[e]Ra[h] the meaning of which is drawn from its 15 occurrences in the Torah. It comes from a primitive word root that can mean answer, appoint, avouch, boast about self, call, declare, challenge, certify or command and it could reflect truth or untruth. In context the occurrence reflects Sarai’s encounter with Hagar, Avraham’s encounter with Avimelech over Sarah[16], Rivkah’s advice preempting Yaakov to take the first blessing of Yitzchak[17], Leah’s birth of Reuven[18], Tziporah’s action to save Moshe’s life[19], Hannah, Elkana and the birth of Shmuel[20] and Elisha’s miracle breaking the drought in Shomron[21]. In addition in Proverbs[22] - Wisdom, understating and evil[23], Kohellos[24] - Shlomo seeking one man’s wisdom, Lamentations[25] - faith and plea for help, Yechezkel[26] - the pleasure businessmen of Tyre obtained on hearing the temple was destroyed, Hoshea[27] - on illicit relationships and childbirth and punishment for harlotry and ultimately its relationship to Peace[28].

The present dynamic of Israel to the nations of the world is like The Temple Mount compared to the neck of the Mount Moriah on which the Temple Mount it is located – in the daily recitation of blessings before Sh’ma – “…break the yolk of nations from our neck and speedily lead us upright to our land” refers to the trappings of Israel’s exiled state and the last request made before entering the higher mind states designated for the Sh’ma and Shmoneh Esrei (Amidah) prayers. The future dynamic of Israel to the nations of the world is the Temple compared to its location on the neck of Mount Moriah.

The mystery of Parshat Yitro alludes to the higher order of Wisdom’s reflection from Understanding and the negation of ego to correctly interpret and benefit from it. Its inner meaning is alluded to in the twin girls born with Abel and the twin girl born with Cain, where Abel gazed on the (reflected) image of the Divine presence and for this he received death.

If Israel interprets the reflection of its wisdom in the manner of Yaakov’s middle line of Tifferet, it will learn that the neck is the designated place through which the correct vision of the head can pass and when this occurs the yoke of nations will be removed once and for all.

[1] Yitro - Apples from the Orchard Rabbi Wisnefsky on The ARI and Rabbi Vital
[2] Zohar [Matt] Yitro pg:388 mountain of H” - Avraham
[3] Zohar [Matt] Yitro pg:388 house Jacob – on the identification of the sire of Jacob’s dream as the Temple.
[4] Zohar [Matt] Yitro pg:388 Mountain and house…”both allude to Shekinah mountain alludes to accessibility whilst house alludes to intimacy and She welcomes converts under Her wings…
[5] Exodus 18:5
[6] Zohar [Matt] Yitro pg:389 that place – accessible - such a person is linked with Shekinah
[7] Tehillim 81:2
[8] http://www.northhendon.co.uk/sedra/pages/5764/vayeitzei5764.pdf
[9] http://www.parsha.net/pdf/Bereishis/Vayeitze59.pdf
[10] Bereishit 21:11
[11] Bereishit 22:2, based on Bereishit Rabba 55:7
[12] http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/sichot/bereishit/07-60vayetz.htm
[13] Bereishit 20:18
[14] Pesikta Rabbati 39
[15] Genesis 16:13
[16] Genesis 20:5 and 21:16
[17] Genesis 27:6
[18] Genesis 29:32
[19] Exodus 4:26
[20] 1 Samuel 1:22
[21] 2 Kings 6:28
[22] Proverbs 9:4
[23] Proverbs 30:16
[24] Ecclesiastes 7:27
[25] Lamentations 3:24
[26] Ezekiel 26:2
[27] Hosea 2:5
[28] Hosea 2:12