Friday, June 05, 2009

Correction and addendum to previous email - President Obama the Truth of the Torah - Giving and Receiving



In the last email I mentioned that if one that is not a Kohein does the service of a Kohein he gets capital punishment ( It has since been corrected. Robin). My husband corrected me on this. In Bamidbar/Numbers 18:7 it says "Avodas Matana Etein es Kehunaschem VeHazar HaKarev Yumas" I have presented your priesthood as a service that is a gift, and any outsider who approaches shall die," The Stone Commentary on the words "A service that is a gift." says that the privilege of service in the Sanctuary was an exclusive gift to the Kohanim, and therefore, any alien who approaches shall die (Rashi, Ramban). The death penalty mentioned here is a Heavenly punishment, not one that is imposed by the courts. (Therefore it is not capital punishment but Misah Bidei Shamayim, a heavenly punishment)

The Kohanim and the Leviim had the responsibility to safeguard the Tabernacle against trespass. By doing so that protected Israel. Thus the Levites were to protect the Children of Israel from trespassing and the Kohanim were to protect the Levites from trespassing.

There are similariies between the Priests in the Temple and the Nation of Israel who are described as "Mamlechet Kohanim" a Kingdom of Priests, "Vegoy Kadosh" and a Holy Nation. Just like the service of the priests in the Temple was an exclusive gift to the Kohein and had a space associated with it not to be trespassed, so to the Nation of Israel as Kingdom of Priests have their exclusive space which is Eretz Yisroel. In the Tabernacle, guarding the holiest parts protected Israel from a plague such as the one that occurred with the demise of Korah. By safeguarding their exclusive space, the kohanim are protecting the rest of Israel.

The same is true with our Land. When the people of Israel safeguard the Land of Israel from others who are not entitled, they are actually protecting others from harm.

Rather than feeling antagonistic towards the Kohanim, the Israelites honored the Kohanim as G-d's chosen servants and brought them many gifts. (Terumah, Maaser etc.) So too, the time will come when the Nations of the World will recognize that the people of Israel are G-d's chosen servants and will stream to Jerusalem with gifts in their own service to G-d. When the giver, the Nations of the World understands that it is not a personal gift to the leaders of Israel but rather a gift to G-d and the recipient, the people of Israel, understands that the gifts from the Nations has been given to G-d and then they receive from G-d what the Nations have brought, the gift embodies holiness on both the giver and the receiver.

This concept of holiness is the very secret of Shemittah and gifts to the Kohanim and to the poor. It defines the proper way to give and the proper way to receive.

May we merit the coming of Moshiach speedily in our day. Amein!
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