Leah’s Blog – Parashat Ki Tetzeh
Ki Tetzeh – The Place- The Time
The greatest war we face is one of perception. When one is cognizant of truth, sensitive consciousness can leave no doubt on any major or minor happening near and far. There is only one Emet (truth). Observing the integrity of your own awareness is the thing we pray about most every single day. We have been given an everlasting guide in how to “sharpen our tools” of discerning right from wrong, even now in this A I generation of technology, free thinking and “open to interpretation” generation we live in. Ki Tetzeh delves into a seemingly “light” mitzvah-returning a lost object- amongst a list of mitzvoth based on mussar we learn from in this parsha.
The lost object I now wish to refer to is Eretz Yisrael. It has been challenged and laced with much opposition both from within and without, especially and indeed now that it has been returned to the rightful owner at this time. We must be able to recognize right from wrong, false teachings and trends that turn away from practical Geulah happening right now as Israel becomes a superpower and prophecies unfold as promised to us thousands of years ago. You would be surprised to know how your influence in awareness of Israel is vital to the people surrounding you. Your care can become infectious to those around you who just live in a bubble, needing someone to “light their fire”, who just don’t even know THEY are lost to the object as much as the object is lost to them.
In this blog I will attempt to challenge the ideas put forth in a “Torah” article I read while in NY a few weeks ago in a popular newspaper distributed to thousands of people that read it, and what I found to be narishkeit, indeed dangerous narishkeit. Innocents are influenced beyond measure, I shall not be silenced. I am no Rabbi, but a simple Jewish woman that lives in the place, the particular portion of space Hashem designed to be the homecoming for the Jewish people that began with Abraham, continued with Yaakov and later Am Yisrael after their journey through the wilderness. They reached this very mountain and into the blessing and the curse, the place they are told to choose between life and death. I am contesting an ideology that has been creeping into orthodox mainstream Judaism thriving in exile. In the last years, that at this very time of return to Zion, many Rabbis say “HaMakome” (the place) is not actually a place, but a time. Yes, the Torah article; scratch your head- the entities of PLACE and TIME become vague as HAMAKOME has been rebranded into “Zmahn Elul” or- the time of Elul and all the more so, “exile gives us freedom to do introspection- the time is way more important now as we do teshuva”. I’m having a Deja vu’ remembering the spies that went to seek out the Land who were not salivating to enter it and feigned the need to continue to learn Torah in the desert as to not be bothered by building homes and fighting wars but just nurse Torah (learn the theory). Time in the desert would just go on and on and on -The place can be here, there, anywhere- it is irrelevant” (?!?!). In contrast to this “Dvar Torah” that confuses the dimensions of time and place defined by Hashem (By the way our whole Jewish calendar and time based mitzvot are actually based on sightings of the new moon in ISRAEL), I will analyze what place and time means from a Torah perspective. We need to fire out this issue.
The Torah calls to mind specific epiphanies that happened at HAMAKOME- the place. Abraham is told- “Lech lecha- go to a PLACE I will show you”. Not naming the place, he reaches Eretz Yisrael “AD (referring to definition of boundary) makome Shechem AD Elon Moreh”. Later Abraham is told- “Go to one of the mountains I will tell you about”. He saw the place in the distance… … Years and years later, from the time Yehoshua entered the Land until the time of David redeeming it, four hundred years had passed before revealing the true meaning behind this place, destined to be the home for the Shechina, the House of Hashem. Like in archeology, layers and layers of ambiguity cover it until it is revealed. The choice of Hashem was always been there for this place yet Am Yisrael first had to yearn for it in order to reach it and understand it. There are stages, both material and spiritual we have to go through to reach the revelation behind them. (take Huwara for instance- a littered bastion of terrorism just minutes from the pumping heart of Israel’s heartland! Pulsing now, it is on everyone’s mind- but in what way? What lies underneath it?) Places remain “hidden” at times, at times not even mentioned as Shechem was not mentioned in the blessing and the curse of Parshat Reeh, yet it sits sandwiched between the two mountains with its own relevant meanings not revealed in this portion. Confusing place and time is like how we view things from a personal subjective view AND NOT from a complete Torah objective view- Hashem commanded us to live in Israel!. Our holy sites are devastated at this moment! The graves of Itamar, Elazar, Pinchas, have all been turned into garbage dumps. Yosef HaTzaddik is attacked time and time again and was destroyed in the riots of September 2,000.I have personally stood in the dung of the donkey there in the thick darkness while we came like robbers in the night to be near THAT PLACE. Nevertheless, it has a pulse- it is a LAND COVENANT, about remembering that the places you read about during the Torah portion are REAL PLACES. Please do not add to their disgrace by ignoring them! It demands your mindfulness. Return the lost object!
I ask, how can the Shechina gather if Israel cannot gather in the place intended. Eretz Yisrael is the only designated place for that. We must desire her. The time demands it. If every day of creation was a thousand years, we are about to light Shabbat candles in a few moments as the sixth day is about to end. Back to the garden! Place and time rely on each other. Because of the brave people that LIVE HERE, Huwara is not lost! Shechem is not lost! Yerushalayim is not lost! American Rabbis- TAKE HEED- have mindfulness! Israel is a place. You have accountability! It is Elul now; we come to meet Hashem in the field. This is the joint when time and place meet, a time of conscious awareness of the real time and place we are in right now, each distinct yet intertwined. Ki Tetzeh: return the lost object and return to ratzone Hashem.
Shabbat Shalom, Leah