Thursday, March 29, 2012

Parashat ZAV - פרשת צו


This week's Parasha, Parashat ZAV, is all about Korbanot (Sacrifices) in the Temple. The word KORBANOT comes from the Hebrew verb LEHITKAREV - Getting closer to something / someone. While Jews are bringing sacrifices (during Temple times, Gentiles did so on Succot) they are getting closer to G - d. Not necessarily by the sacrifice itself but by their deep and honest repentance. However, Korbanot were not always brought after someone had done something wrong. There used to be sacrifices in order to thank G - d or special Korbanot for the holidays.

When you do something wrong, your Jewish soul (Neshama) will be influenced by your wrongdoing. Our task in this world is to elevate ourselves and souls and not to give in and blemish the Neshama. Of course, we may correct our wrongdoings by repentance but what makes everything a bit more complicated is that even thoughts can blemish your soul. You think something and don't even have to carry it out but it still leaves an influence in your mind and soul.

Today we are much more vulnerable to all kinds of thoughts and it is not only Facebook, Twitter or the entire Internet world causing us confrontations with all kinds of worldy things. Of course, it always depends on how you use the Internet  but still, temptations are around everywhere you look. 

On the other hand, we cannot just lock ourselves away but have to interact with the world. There are times when I would love to lock myself into closed chassidic communities such as Toldot Aharon. Just live in my own backyard and not interfering with the outside world. Just live my own life without being confronted with news about Iran, economy, bombs, unemployment, etc. To be realistic, I wouldn't manage that kind of life for too long and just explode after a while. But for a certain period of time, every human needs a break and has to go inside of himself and think. Do Cheshbon Nefesh, meditate or simply taking some time for himself without media and other people around. 

I think it was the Maharal saying in his commentary on "Pirkei Avot" that a Jew has to interact with the world, as he is not alone on this planet. Worldly affairs are not always negative but what we have to do is learning how to approach them in a positive sense.

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