BS”D Parashat Tzav Erev Pesach 5781
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
It doesn’t matter who wins the 2021 Election
This is being written on the 23rd of March 2021 on the fourth election day in two years. But from my angle of vision as a retiree from active participation in Israeli life, now perched high above the din, babel, cacophony, and discordance of our political system, I can say that it really doesn’t matter who wins or loses the election! I will explain towards the end of this article.
Every verse, word and letter in the Torah is meaningful and significant, to the extent that if even one letter is missing or damaged in a Torah scroll, that Torah scroll is invalid for public reading. Notwithstanding this adjudication, it is for us who are not erudite in the profundities of Kabala and the myriad secrets behind the Torah’s text, to relate to the verses of the Torah in a manner that is meaningful for us.
One of the most intriguing verses in the book of Shemot is in parashat Yitro:
ואשא אתכם על כנפי נשרים
And I have borne you (when leaving Egypt) on the wings of eagles.
Did Hashem actually provide every freed slave with his personal eagle? So, in addition to the literal meaning of the verse, I suggest the following:
The Torah records the physical characteristics of mammals which render them as kosher: chew its cud and have split hooves; fish must have fins and scales. However, there are no such indicators regarding species of fowl. But there is a rabbinic tradition that states that kosher birds have four characteristics: it is not a bird of prey; has an extra toe, a crop, and a gizzard that can be peeled. There are differences of opinion whether a bird needs to have all or just some of these features for it to be considered kosher, unless there is a tradition that it is kosher.
An eagle does not have even one kosher characteristic, it is mehadrin treif.
HaShem is telling us in this pasuk that He brought the Jews out of Egypt despite the fact that they were like eagles with not even one sign of what a chosen people must be. They had no Torah, no mitzvot. They were boorish and ignorant, having undergone slavery for generations. Yet HaShem freed them in order to become His chosen nation by virtue of the holy Jewish neshama that was their essence, being direct descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov, which provided them with great spiritual potential.
A Holy Jewish government
The book of Shemot ends with instructions for erecting the Mishkan — forging its implements, the Kohanic garments and choosing of the kohanim.
The book of Bamidbar details the arrangement of the tribes around the Mishkan which stood in the center of the encampment.
The Mishkan was erected within a large rectangular courtyard whose dimensions were measured in “amot” (approx. half a meter): 100 amot long in the north and south and 50 amot wide in the west and east. Approximately 50 meters long by 25 meters wide, in all 1250 square meters (or 4100 square feet).
Immediately surrounding the Mishkan to the north, south and west encamped the families of the tribe of Levi. To the east, by the entrance to the courtyard leading to the Mishkan were Moshe, Aharon and their immediate families.
On the outer perimeter of the courtyard to the north were the tribes of Dan, Naftali and Asher; to the south Re’uven, Shimon and Gad; to the west Efrayim, Menashe and Binyamin, and to the east the tribes of Yehuda, Yissachar and Zevulun. What was the rationale behind the division of the respective tribes on each of the four sides?
I submit that Dan, Naftali and Asher were placed in the north because they were destined to receive their homesteads in the north of Eretz Yisrael (Lebanon is an extension of the tribal areas of Naftali and Asher).
Reuven, Shimon and Gad were placed in the south because they were destined not to receive their homesteads on the western side of the Jordan. The homesteads of Reuven and Gad were to the east of the Jordan and Shimon was allotted an enclave within the tribe of Yehuda.
Efrayim, Menashe and Binyamin were together because they were descendants of Mother Rachel.
To the east, at the opening to the courtyard of the Mishkan, and neighbors of Moshe and Aharon were the tribes of Yehuda, Yissachar and Zevulin. Why? The Gemara in Shevuot 16a states that the classic Jewish government is composed of four separate branches: the king who was responsible for civil matters, including the military; the Kohen Gadol; the Sanhedrin which dealt with the adjudication of halachic problems, and the reigning prophet of the time.
As stated above, to the east at the entrance to the courtyard was the tribe of Yehuda from whom came the kings of Israel; the tribe of Yissachar were great scholars, with the tribe of Zevulun supplying Yissachar with the material needs which permitted them to study Torah; Moshe was the prophet and Aharon the Kohen Gadol. Meaning, at the entrance to the Mishkan’s courtyard were all four branches of the holy Jewish government which received their spiritual direction to lead HaShem’s chosen nation.
Democracy replaced by Religious Monarchy
A leap to our times… In some way we are the Biblical “eagle” which has no kosher signs, yet HaShem is bringing about our redemption from galut based on our spiritual potential.
Today the Medina has no king, no Sanhedrin, no Kohen Gadol and no prophet. Yet HaShem established Medinat Israel because of the great spiritual potential within the Jewish people here in Eretz Yisrael.
What is important to note is that all four branches of a Torah government are centered at the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim. The king’s palace was adjacent to the Mount. The Sanhedrin sat in one of the Temple’s chambers, the Bet Hamikdash was obviously there, and the source of prophecy came from the Holy of Holies.
All future meaningful activities of worldwide repercussions will be centered around Yerushalayim.
At the onset of our national unity, HaShem was aware of all the diverse possibilities of social and national administrations, including democracy. Yet He deemed most suitable for the Jewish people a monarchy supported by three other branches of government which were positioned to guide the king to be an autocratic, although “benevolent” leader. This is the appropriate and compatible form of government which can dictate common goals and direction to unify the diverse characteristics of the Jewish genius.
At some time in the not-too-distant future, democracy will be replaced here by a religious monarchy which will reform the chaos we are experiencing now.
I write this not because it will be the desire of the majority, but because it will happen due to the necessity of having a strong, charismatic leader at the helm of our nation who will guide the nation back to the Torah values for which we were chosen at Sinai by HaShem.
Pesach kasher ve’Samayach
Copyright © 5781/2021 Nachman Kahana