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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Holy Cow!

In this week Parsha (Tora portion), Chukas, the Holy Merciful One God commands Moshe to bring the offering of the Red Heifer. Rashi quoting the Medrash (homiletics) explains that the Red Heifer was an atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf. The mother (heifer) comes to clean up the mess of her daughter (calf). The calf must be red to signify the reddening caused by sin, it must be wholesome and complete (in redness and from missing limbs etc.) to signify the state of the Jews before the sin and after the atonement, and it must never have been placed in a yoke to signify that the Jews had removed the yoke of Heaven. We need to understand why the matter of redness and not having been under a yoke are signifying the state of the sin, whereas the wholesomeness signifies the state of rectification (there is another matter that needs explanation – see the Hebrew).
This can be understood with what Rabbainu taught in Likutay Moharan (Tora 64) that there are two types of heresy. One comes from exterior wisdoms, that were developed due to the breaking of the vessels of the world. The world is made of the holy letters of the Aleph Bays, and when these letters were not able to hold the great light shining into them they broke and splintered, causing all types of aberrations and mutant languages, methodologies, reasoning and the like. Even still the Holy letters can be found, so there is possibility for a person to find the truth and extract himself and others from the mess. The second heresy comes from the Empty Space – God is infinite, above time and space, to create this world He made a void where the finite can reign in time and space. By definition it is impossible to understand God in this Empty Space. Therefore it is necessary to have simple faith that obviously God is the sole presence and life source even in the Empty Space, and not to contemplate how this is, because that is not fathomable in this world.
Thus the redness of the heifer and the freedom from a yoke both are rectifications of the 2nd heresy. Redness in Hebrew can also mean silence, which is what Rabbainu explains must be done in the Empty Space, silent belief. This is also the aspect of the yoke, i.e. not to undertake at all a working contemplation of Gods presence in the Empty Space. The rectification of this heresy can not properly be represented, therefore the only way to offer atonement is to show when we should have been silent and believing. Whereas the wholesomeness of the heifer is a rectification of the 1st heresy, to correct all the aberrations.
Here is another way to explain the dichotomy, in an almost converse approach. Sins and mistakes blacken a person, there is no one completely free of some wrongdoing. So in whatever shape we are in, we turn to God for atonement, this is alluded to in the redness of the heifer and it’s freedom of a yoke. There are however sins that G”F cripple and handicap a person, this has to be taken care before one can turn to God for atonement. Only with wholesomeness can one approach God(If I remember correctly there is a similar Tora from R’ Shlomo Carlbach showing the difference between dirty and ugly).

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