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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:18 am
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Parshat Korach

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Korach(Numbers 16-18)

All In the Same Boat

In praying to God on behalf of the Jewish people, Moses asks how it can be that one man (Korach) transgresses and God becomes upset with the entire nation. Does one man really affect the whole nation?

The answer in Jewish thinking is, of course, yes. From God's point of view it's easy to see - we are responsible for one another, and if one person is doing something wrong then we all share the blame.

This can also be understood from a practical perspective. The Sages give a lovely analogy. They say it is similar to a person who is sitting in a boat full of people and drilling a hole under his own seat. The people scream at him to stop, but he cannot understand why they are upset - after all, he's only drilling under his own seat, not theirs!

It's easy to see that people chopping down rainforests in Brazil ultimately affect people in Australia. And how if China is filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, we may get ourselves a few more deserts. However, the boat analogy works on a spiritual level, too.

We all live together on a boat and that boat is our society. If it sinks, we all sink. If it gets somewhere, we all get there. If a person is immoral in his own home with no one watching, he is still drilling a hole under his seat. Because by lowering his own standards of morality, he affects those he interacts with. Like it or not, we respond to each other. Good and decent people lift us, and lowly people drag us down. People are pulled after their environment and each of us is part of each other's environment. We affect each other by who we are and how we live.

One man's transgression does affect the whole nation - albeit in a small way. But lots of small decisions can create a spiritual "butterfly effect." Our decisions and our actions count - not only for our own lives and for those immediately around us, but ultimately, the effects are felt by our whole society.

~ Straight Talk by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt



.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:38 pm
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Suluby wrote:

Korach(Numbers 16-18)

All In the Same Boat

In praying to God on behalf of the Jewish people, Moses asks how it can be that one man (Korach) transgresses and God becomes upset with the entire nation. Does one man really affect the whole nation?

The answer in Jewish thinking is, of course, yes. From God's point of view it's easy to see - we are responsible for one another, and if one person is doing something wrong then we all share the blame.

This can also be understood from a practical perspective. The Sages give a lovely analogy. They say it is similar to a person who is sitting in a boat full of people and drilling a hole under his own seat. The people scream at him to stop, but he cannot understand why they are upset - after all, he's only drilling under his own seat, not theirs!

It's easy to see that people chopping down rainforests in Brazil ultimately affect people in Australia. And how if China is filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, we may get ourselves a few more deserts. However, the boat analogy works on a spiritual level, too.

We all live together on a boat and that boat is our society. If it sinks, we all sink. If it gets somewhere, we all get there. If a person is immoral in his own home with no one watching, he is still drilling a hole under his seat. Because by lowering his own standards of morality, he affects those he interacts with. Like it or not, we respond to each other. Good and decent people lift us, and lowly people drag us down. People are pulled after their environment and each of us is part of each other's environment. We affect each other by who we are and how we live.

One man's transgression does affect the whole nation - albeit in a small way. But lots of small decisions can create a spiritual "butterfly effect." Our decisions and our actions count - not only for our own lives and for those immediately around us, but ultimately, the effects are felt by our whole society.

~ Straight Talk by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt



.


This is a most valid and praiseworthy sentiment and a prime example of the Jewish tradition of continual reinterpretation of scripture in light of present circumstances. But to harken back to the days when the Torah was written we can also see the original meaning. The Law was a means of uniting and preserving the Jewish people (an anachronistic phrasing I know). There were certain moral basics that applied to everyone, Jew or gentile, e.g., the Noahide laws. And then there was the Law in all its complexities that was the essential definition of Judaism. Those who followed the Law were Jews and Jews followed the Law.

Not every detail of the Law is exclusively Jewish. A gentile is perfectly entitled to tithe, for example, because charity is a good thing. That does not make him a Jew. But a gentile cannot participate in a Pesach Seder, for example, because that is uniquely Jewish. Only those who are obligated are entitled. It is a part of the binding the community. For a Jew not to follow the Law is to harm the community, the unity of Judaism. Enforcing observance of the Law is therefore important to ensuring the continuing existence of the Jewish people. This is why it is perfectly understandable why the Lord could punish the whole people for the transgression of one.

An article of the Law is a mitzvah, a duty. But it is also a mitzvah, a blessing. That one word carries both senses. These are not empty obligations to be given lip service and forgotten. They are the very heart of Judaism and the way by which the Jewish people continue as a people. And history, ancient and recent and everywhere in between, illustrates how difficult that can be.



Much thanks to Annie, my Jewish ‘mentor’. This came out of a conversation where we compared our birth religions and I said many similar things about Catholicism. But that part of the conversation is of course for a different time and place.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:25 pm
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Re: Parshat Korach

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ThatGirlAgain wrote:

Suluby wrote:

Korach(Numbers 16-18)

All In the Same Boat
In praying to God on behalf of the Jewish people, Moses asks how it can be that one man (Korach) transgresses and God becomes upset with the entire nation. Does one man really affect the whole nation?

The answer in Jewish thinking is, of course, yes. From God's point of view it's easy to see - we are responsible for one another, and if one person is doing something wrong then we all share the blame.

This can also be understood from a practical perspective. The Sages give a lovely analogy. They say it is similar to a person who is sitting in a boat full of people and drilling a hole under his own seat. The people scream at him to stop, but he cannot understand why they are upset - after all, he's only drilling under his own seat, not theirs!

It's easy to see that people chopping down rainforests in Brazil ultimately affect people in Australia. And how if China is filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, we may get ourselves a few more deserts. However, the boat analogy works on a spiritual level, too.

We all live together on a boat and that boat is our society. If it sinks, we all sink. If it gets somewhere, we all get there. If a person is immoral in his own home with no one watching, he is still drilling a hole under his seat. Because by lowering his own standards of morality, he affects those he interacts with. Like it or not, we respond to each other. Good and decent people lift us, and lowly people drag us down. People are pulled after their environment and each of us is part of each other's environment. We affect each other by who we are and how we live.

One man's transgression does affect the whole nation - albeit in a small way. But lots of small decisions can create a spiritual "butterfly effect." Our decisions and our actions count - not only for our own lives and for those immediately around us, but ultimately, the effects are felt by our whole society.

~ Straight Talk by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt

.


This is a most valid and praiseworthy sentiment and a prime example of the Jewish tradition of continual reinterpretation of scripture in light of present circumstances. But to harken back to the days when the Torah was written we can also see the original meaning. The Law was a means of uniting and preserving the Jewish people (an anachronistic phrasing I know).

It still is.

Quote:
There were certain moral basics that applied to everyone, Jew or gentile, e.g., the Noahide laws. And then there was the Law in all its complexities that was the essential definition of Judaism. Those who followed the Law were Jews and Jews followed the Law.

The boat spoken of in the 'drash is said to be our society ...... 'our' as in ALL of us - Jew & non-Jew. What we do affects everybody. If I pollute the environment, non-Jews will suffer, too.

Quote:
Not every detail of the Law is exclusively Jewish. A gentile is perfectly entitled to tithe, for example, because charity is a good thing. That does not make him a Jew. But a gentile cannot participate in a Pesach Seder, for example, because that is uniquely Jewish. Only those who are obligated are entitled. It is a part of the binding the community.

Really? Non-Jews cannot participate in a seder? I've never heard that before! Most of the sedarim I've attended in my 60+ years of attending or hosting them have had among the guests non-Jews ...... and that includes sedarim attended or led by Rabbis. There's nothing secretive about a seder.

I enjoy having non-Jews at the seder table; they ask the most penetrating questions ..... and everyone is made to think about the entire ritual and the scriptural underpinnings. They aren't jaded and they don't get bored.


Quote:
For a Jew not to follow the Law is to harm the community, the unity of Judaism. Enforcing observance of the Law is therefore important to ensuring the continuing existence of the Jewish people. This is why it is perfectly understandable why the Lord could punish the whole people for the transgression of one.

An article of the Law is a mitzvah, a duty. But it is also a mitzvah, a blessing. That one word carries both senses. These are not empty obligations to be given lip service and forgotten. They are the very heart of Judaism and the way by which the Jewish people continue as a people. And history, ancient and recent and everywhere in between, illustrates how difficult that can be.

That's true.


Quote:
Much thanks to Annie, my Jewish ‘mentor’. This came out of a conversation where we compared our birth religions and I said many similar things about Catholicism. But that part of the conversation is of course for a different time and place.


.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:02 pm
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Suluby wrote:

ThatGirlAgain wrote:

Suluby wrote:

Korach(Numbers 16-18)

All In the Same Boat
In praying to God on behalf of the Jewish people, Moses asks how it can be that one man (Korach) transgresses and God becomes upset with the entire nation. Does one man really affect the whole nation?

The answer in Jewish thinking is, of course, yes. From God's point of view it's easy to see - we are responsible for one another, and if one person is doing something wrong then we all share the blame.

This can also be understood from a practical perspective. The Sages give a lovely analogy. They say it is similar to a person who is sitting in a boat full of people and drilling a hole under his own seat. The people scream at him to stop, but he cannot understand why they are upset - after all, he's only drilling under his own seat, not theirs!

It's easy to see that people chopping down rainforests in Brazil ultimately affect people in Australia. And how if China is filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, we may get ourselves a few more deserts. However, the boat analogy works on a spiritual level, too.

We all live together on a boat and that boat is our society. If it sinks, we all sink. If it gets somewhere, we all get there. If a person is immoral in his own home with no one watching, he is still drilling a hole under his seat. Because by lowering his own standards of morality, he affects those he interacts with. Like it or not, we respond to each other. Good and decent people lift us, and lowly people drag us down. People are pulled after their environment and each of us is part of each other's environment. We affect each other by who we are and how we live.

One man's transgression does affect the whole nation - albeit in a small way. But lots of small decisions can create a spiritual "butterfly effect." Our decisions and our actions count - not only for our own lives and for those immediately around us, but ultimately, the effects are felt by our whole society.

~ Straight Talk by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt

.


This is a most valid and praiseworthy sentiment and a prime example of the Jewish tradition of continual reinterpretation of scripture in light of present circumstances. But to harken back to the days when the Torah was written we can also see the original meaning. The Law was a means of uniting and preserving the Jewish people (an anachronistic phrasing I know).

It still is.

Quote:
There were certain moral basics that applied to everyone, Jew or gentile, e.g., the Noahide laws. And then there was the Law in all its complexities that was the essential definition of Judaism. Those who followed the Law were Jews and Jews followed the Law.

The boat spoken of in the 'drash is said to be our society ...... 'our' as in ALL of us - Jew & non-Jew. What we do affects everybody. If I pollute the environment, non-Jews will suffer, too.

Quote:
Not every detail of the Law is exclusively Jewish. A gentile is perfectly entitled to tithe, for example, because charity is a good thing. That does not make him a Jew. But a gentile cannot participate in a Pesach Seder, for example, because that is uniquely Jewish. Only those who are obligated are entitled. It is a part of the binding the community.

Really? Non-Jews cannot participate in a seder? I've never heard that before! Most of the sedarim I've attended in my 60+ years of attending or hosting them have had among the guests non-Jews ...... and that includes sedarim attended or led by Rabbis. There's nothing secretive about a seder.

I enjoy having non-Jews at the seder table; they ask the most penetrating questions ..... and everyone is made to think about the entire ritual and the scriptural underpinnings. They aren't jaded and they don't get bored.


Quote:
For a Jew not to follow the Law is to harm the community, the unity of Judaism. Enforcing observance of the Law is therefore important to ensuring the continuing existence of the Jewish people. This is why it is perfectly understandable why the Lord could punish the whole people for the transgression of one.

An article of the Law is a mitzvah, a duty. But it is also a mitzvah, a blessing. That one word carries both senses. These are not empty obligations to be given lip service and forgotten. They are the very heart of Judaism and the way by which the Jewish people continue as a people. And history, ancient and recent and everywhere in between, illustrates how difficult that can be.

That's true.


Quote:
Much thanks to Annie, my Jewish ‘mentor’. This came out of a conversation where we compared our birth religions and I said many similar things about Catholicism. But that part of the conversation is of course for a different time and place.


.

Here is an interesting discussion (too long to quote in full) that argues that the ancient halachic ruling against gentiles being at a Seder is not necessarily relevant anymore. Here are some reasons why it would be wrong to exclude them.

Quote:
1. "Mishum chinuch, letzorech mitzva" : for educational reasons, for the purpose of performing the commandments" - allowing conversion candidates to initiate themselves in Jewish practice.

2. "Mishum K'vod Horim" :Respecting one's parents -- honouring a non-Jewish parent. Many Rabbis have ruled that this principle remains binding after the conversion of the child to Judaism. It is hurtful for a parent not to be invited to a meal because of his status of "gentile".

3. "Mishum Kiruv" :To bring people close" -- This is applicable for both partners of a mixed marriage. It is not right to refuse the Jewish partner the opportunity to perform a commandment, just so that he holds to the prohibition. It is preferable to include the non-Jewish spouse in Jewish life, rather than to move them away.

4. "Mipnei Darkei Shalom - Mishum Eiva" (To walk in ways of peace or: to prevent animosity)": Many halachic authorities, in different circumstances, have preferred to ignore various antique rules of discrimination, in order to reinforce confidence and to edify the brotherhood between religions and between people.

http://www.adathshalom.org/RK/a-Gentile-to-the-Passover-Seder.pdf

The article comments that the prohibition really had to do with consuming the Korban Pesach, limited to those who were obliged to do that. But the Temple is long gone and that sacrifice cannot be performed.

Annie comes from a (very) Conservative background. According to her, Pesach is not merely part of an overall whole that serves to unite Judaism, it is explicitly about the unity of the Jewish community. It is a commemoration of the singling out of Jews as a special people and precursor to the giving of the Law. (I should note here that Annie’s take on the ‘Chosen People’ is that they were chosen to serve as an example of righteousness to all people – an obligation and a blessing in one.) So to Annie (or at least the Annie of yesteryear – neither of us are practicing anymore) the Pesach Seder was exclusively Jewish.

But as Annie often says, three rabbis, four opinions. Angel

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:57 pm
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Suluby: Apart from the global climate change thing, I think that is a descent midrash. We are responsible to enform others of there errors. If the implication is that we should support world wide secular enforcement of various matters, I do not think that is the real lesson. I believe it is more about community responsibility than governmental enforcement.

ThatGirlAgain: Your argument that encouraging others to live a Torah observant lifestyle strengthens social bonds is also a good point. I am concerned about your understanding of the requirements of the ger(sojourner). It is my understanding that HaTorah applies equally to the ger as it does to member of the community. The Pasach exception, seems to apply only to the Pasach itself and not the seder as a whole. Also, that exception only applies to one who is not circumcised. That would mean that, if we could consume an actually Pasach sacrifice, the uncircumcised could not partake of that.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:39 pm
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Re: Parshat Korach

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[quote="ThatGirlAgain"]
[quote="Suluby"]
ThatGirlAgain wrote:

Suluby wrote:

Korach(Numbers 16-18)

All In the Same Boat
In praying to God on behalf of the Jewish people, Moses asks how it can be that one man (Korach) transgresses and God becomes upset with the entire nation. Does one man really affect the whole nation?

The answer in Jewish thinking is, of course, yes. From God's point of view it's easy to see - we are responsible for one another, and if one person is doing something wrong then we all share the blame.

This can also be understood from a practical perspective. The Sages give a lovely analogy. They say it is similar to a person who is sitting in a boat full of people and drilling a hole under his own seat. The people scream at him to stop, but he cannot understand why they are upset - after all, he's only drilling under his own seat, not theirs!

It's easy to see that people chopping down rainforests in Brazil ultimately affect people in Australia. And how if China is filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, we may get ourselves a few more deserts. However, the boat analogy works on a spiritual level, too.

We all live together on a boat and that boat is our society. If it sinks, we all sink. If it gets somewhere, we all get there. If a person is immoral in his own home with no one watching, he is still drilling a hole under his seat. Because by lowering his own standards of morality, he affects those he interacts with. Like it or not, we respond to each other. Good and decent people lift us, and lowly people drag us down. People are pulled after their environment and each of us is part of each other's environment. We affect each other by who we are and how we live.

One man's transgression does affect the whole nation - albeit in a small way. But lots of small decisions can create a spiritual "butterfly effect." Our decisions and our actions count - not only for our own lives and for those immediately around us, but ultimately, the effects are felt by our whole society.

~ Straight Talk by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt

.


This is a most valid and praiseworthy sentiment and a prime example of the Jewish tradition of continual reinterpretation of scripture in light of present circumstances. But to harken back to the days when the Torah was written we can also see the original meaning. The Law was a means of uniting and preserving the Jewish people (an anachronistic phrasing I know).

It still is.

Quote:
There were certain moral basics that applied to everyone, Jew or gentile, e.g., the Noahide laws. And then there was the Law in all its complexities that was the essential definition of Judaism. Those who followed the Law were Jews and Jews followed the Law.

The boat spoken of in the 'drash is said to be our society ...... 'our' as in ALL of us - Jew & non-Jew. What we do affects everybody. If I pollute the environment, non-Jews will suffer, too.

Quote:
Not every detail of the Law is exclusively Jewish. A gentile is perfectly entitled to tithe, for example, because charity is a good thing. That does not make him a Jew. But a gentile cannot participate in a Pesach Seder, for example, because that is uniquely Jewish. Only those who are obligated are entitled. It is a part of the binding the community.

Really? Non-Jews cannot participate in a seder? I've never heard that before! Most of the sedarim I've attended in my 60+ years of attending or hosting them have had among the guests non-Jews ...... and that includes sedarim attended or led by Rabbis. There's nothing secretive about a seder.

I enjoy having non-Jews at the seder table; they ask the most penetrating questions ..... and everyone is made to think about the entire ritual and the scriptural underpinnings. They aren't jaded and they don't get bored.


Quote:
For a Jew not to follow the Law is to harm the community, the unity of Judaism. Enforcing observance of the Law is therefore important to ensuring the continuing existence of the Jewish people. This is why it is perfectly understandable why the Lord could punish the whole people for the transgression of one.

An article of the Law is a mitzvah, a duty. But it is also a mitzvah, a blessing. That one word carries both senses. These are not empty obligations to be given lip service and forgotten. They are the very heart of Judaism and the way by which the Jewish people continue as a people. And history, ancient and recent and everywhere in between, illustrates how difficult that can be.

That's true.

Quote:
Much thanks to Annie, my Jewish ‘mentor’. This came out of a conversation where we compared our birth religions and I said many similar things about Catholicism. But that part of the conversation is of course for a different time and place.


Quote:
Here is an interesting discussion (too long to quote in full) that argues that the ancient halachic ruling against gentiles being at a Seder is not necessarily relevant anymore. Here are some reasons why it would be wrong to exclude them.

Quote:
1. "Mishum chinuch, letzorech mitzva" : for educational reasons, for the purpose of performing the commandments" - allowing conversion candidates to initiate themselves in Jewish practice.

2. "Mishum K'vod Horim" :Respecting one's parents -- honouring a non-Jewish parent. Many Rabbis have ruled that this principle remains binding after the conversion of the child to Judaism. It is hurtful for a parent not to be invited to a meal because of his status of "gentile".

3. "Mishum Kiruv" :To bring people close" -- This is applicable for both partners of a mixed marriage. It is not right to refuse the Jewish partner the opportunity to perform a commandment, just so that he holds to the prohibition. It is preferable to include the non-Jewish spouse in Jewish life, rather than to move them away.

4. "Mipnei Darkei Shalom - Mishum Eiva" (To walk in ways of peace or: to prevent animosity)": Many halachic authorities, in different circumstances, have preferred to ignore various antique rules of discrimination, in order to reinforce confidence and to edify the brotherhood between religions and between people.

http://www.adathshalom.org/RK/a-Gentile-to-the-Passover-Seder.pdf


The article comments that the prohibition really had to do with consuming the Korban Pesach, limited to those who were obliged to do that. But the Temple is long gone and that sacrifice cannot be performed.

Since no one has been able make Qorban Pesach since about 70CE, that doesn't seem to be a valid reason to exclude anyone in the 20th & 21st centuries.

Quote:
Annie comes from a (very) Conservative background. According to her, Pesach is not merely part of an overall whole that serves to unite Judaism, it is explicitly about the unity of the Jewish community. It is a commemoration of the singling out of Jews as a special people and precursor to the giving of the Law. (I should note here that Annie’s take on the ‘Chosen People’ is that they were chosen to serve as an example of righteousness to all people – an obligation and a blessing in one.) So to Annie (or at least the Annie of yesteryear – neither of us are practicing anymore) the Pesach Seder was exclusively Jewish.

I come from a Conserva-dox background. My parents belonged to an Orthodox synagogue until we moved to an area where the only synagogue within walking distance was Conservative with Orthodox leanings. And that's the kind of synagogue my husband & I have always belonged to.

I made a brit milah for my each of my sons, a pidyon haben for the first and a bar mitzvah for each and we shared all our simchas with non-Jewish friends and neighbors.

Quote:
But as Annie often says, three rabbis, four opinions. Angel

LOL Ain't that the truth!!! Attending a synagogue board meeting just proves that truism!

.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:09 pm
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Which reminds me of a joke that happens to be something that happened to me personally.

A few months before my bet din and subsequent conversion, I was attending a reception at the Jewish school where I then taught and joked to the campus rabbi, "There are three rabbis here. Why don't we get this thing done?"

He looked around and said, "Hey, there are five! You wanna be a Levy?"

I suspect one has to be Jewish to get that one....

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:20 pm
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I expected that your friend would say, "Yes, we'll never get anything done as long as there are this many."

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