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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Tides of Holiness, Tides of Life


It was Kiddush Levana tonight again. First we search for the moon in the sky, past the blooming branches of tall trees and the dark sloping roofs of houses. The moon has become hard to find with spring, one pale silver sickle in New York City's starless ink-blue sky among the moving stars of helicopters and planes.

The non-religious or non-Jewish neighborhood residents who pass us by must think we're a tribe of moon worshipers as we race back and forth down the street looking for a clear vantage point for the moon. Look, we point up, and they look too trying to understand what it is about a small slice of moon that interests us so.

The Jewish people are compared to the moon. As it waxes and wanes, so too we wax and wane. From exile to redemption, closeness to G-D and distance from him; man is more lunar than solar, a cycle of light and darkness rather than a clear bright light. Man reflects light from Hashem rather than creating it.

In this Shabbat's Parsha we went over the laws of the Metzorah, of the Niddah, of the Zav and the Zavah. All laws of cyclical conditions. Laws that indicate man is not a solid state but in flux. The progressive modern view of the world is to think of it as a steady rise, a growth from ape to man and from man to superman. From barbaric superstition to scientific enlightenment and the apex of human civilization. Yet our view of the world is the cyclical view of Kohelet, Ein Hadash Tahat Hashemesh - there is nothing new under the sun, as Shlomo Hamelech said.

The arrogance of the Metzorah is his sin, it was to think of himself as the sun, high and bright and above all others. A source of light, rather than one who reflects the light of the Tzibbur, community, and the light of G-D. Yet as Shlomo Hamelech said, there is nothing new under the sun. All that has been was done already and the arrogance of the metzorah is in thinking that he is outside and above all else. The condition of Tzarat, reminds him that his existence is not a steady rise but a cycle which he can control only by bringing himself closer to the true source of light which the Metzorah only reflects; the light of Hashem.

We live today in a solar society, A society that worships wealth and power and strives towards an ever greater rise and sees itself as the apex of civilization. We have absorbed some of this attitude, grown comfortable in our ways, in our haskafos and our communities. We believe that the sun shines for us but the Jewish people are like the moon. From catastrophe to rebuilding, travails to temporary shelter; only when Moshiach comes will the moon once again shine like the sun as it did during the seven days of creation.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous17/4/05

    You really write beautifully.
    I'm really enjoying your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous18/4/05

    Ditto!! This blog is wonderful. Like a web magazine. So nice to look at, so nice to read. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thank you very much leah, I do my best to make it attractive and readable and it is good to know that it is enjoyed and appreciated

    ReplyDelete

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