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KEDOSHIM/ATSMA'UT 5782

05/06/2022 11:27:04 AM

May6

I. Thoughts on Independence.

How do we relate to the establishment of the modern State of Israel?

Many years ago, the year after I had graduated from high school in Boston, I studied in Erets Yisrael. My Talmud teacher that year, Rabbi Zeev Gotthold, suggested that I purchase the Hebrew volume Ha-Mo`adim be-halakha by Rabbi Shlomo Y. Zevin, one of the leading Talmudists of that time. In that fascinating volume, Rav Zevin traced the development throughout the ages of Jewish law as it related to the holidays and fast days. The book was published in Israel in 1959.

In the next to last chapter of that book, he mentions the law that if one happens to come to a city in Judea, that person should perform qeri`ah, i.e., ripping one’s clothing (similar to mourning practice for a close relative.)  The reason, that Rav Zevin quoted from the 16th century Bet Yosef, by Rav Yosef Karo, is that foreign nations rule over these cities. But then Rav Zevin added “it makes sense, that with the freedom of these cities from being under foreign rule, and the establishment of the State of Israel, (how fortunate are we that we have merited this) the law of ripping garments over these cities no longer applies.”

From this, we see the joy of great rabbis at the establishment of the State of Israel, and Renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel: something our grandparents could only dream of!

[Most unfortunate is that when the book was translated into English by Artscroll, the phrase “how fortunate are we that we have merited this …” was omitted.]

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II. Thoughts on this week’s parashat Kedoshim.  The above was based on one of the first books I had acquired for my personal library. Here is a thought from my most recent acquisition: the latest volume of the journal Tradition, that arrived in the mail just a couple of days ago. Keep in mind that the parasha focuses on the idea that we must be a “holy” nation.

The leadoff article in the journal is a fictional letter from the Devil to his nephew. The Devil is gloating about the success he has had lately. He wrote how he set the process in motion back in ‘62, when he succeeded in somehow convincing the Supreme Court justices in the USA that God in the classroom violated their constitution, even though the constitution itself references the Deity!

I leave it to you to see how you can relate this to the major news item of the past week: the leaking of the Roe vs. Wade document.

Shabbat shalom

Mon, June 27 2022 28 Sivan 5782