Friday, August 07, 2009

A real Ultra Zionist Devar Torah

Want to see a seriously Zionistic bit of parshanut? Click to the Rambam on Deut: 11:18 and follow the link to Leviticus 18:25. This is where you will find the great man avowing that mitzos performed in the Diaspora are like a dress rehearsal.
"The main fulfillment of the commandments" he says, "is in Israel"
Now, I don't think Ramban means to say that Diaspora observances are worthless. In fact, he cites a line from Jeremiah to argue otherwise. However, he does seem completely certain that commandments kept outside of the Holy Land belong to a different category then those followed in Israel.

This isn't necessarily a pejorative. Every thespian or athlete understands that practice is important, and that success on the big stage is impossible without it. If you don't practice, you won't succeed when its time to play for real.

Mega Blogger Rashi expresses the idea a bit differently in a post he takes from the Sifrei
Even after you are exiled, you must distinguish yourselves by performing mitzvos. Set the tefilin in place, and affix the mezuzos, so that they do not seem novel when you return. Similarly, it is said, [in Jeremiah] "Establish marks of distinction for yourself."
Rashi, I think, presumes that after the Exiles Return and the Sacrificial Order is Restored everyone will want to participate fully in the Glories of the Torah Society. Of course, the presumption is incorrect - many, if not, most will demur just as many, if not most, demurred when the Temple was actually standing. But because Rashi expects every Jew dreams the same sort of dreams, he provides some advice:
"Set the tefilin in place, and affix the mezuzos, so that they do not seem novel when you return"
The idea here (and I think this fits Ramban, too) is that if you want to succeed as a Jew post-exile you have to keep alive your love for God even in the Diaspora where loyalty to the old ways might prove difficult. If the trumpet sounds, and we're whisked on eagle-shaped El-Al jets back to the Holy Land those who let their love for God flicker out may find it impossible to rekindle. Those who didn't practice, Rashi worries, may not know what to do when the curtain rises for real.

No comments: