In Exodus (19:6), God calls upon His people:
“You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”.
Why should you become a holy nation, and how do you become a holy nation?
The answer and prescription are delivered in no uncertain terms in a certain segment of the Jewish Torah, generally referred to, in Jewish tradition, as Parashat Kedoshim (Segment “The holy ones”).
First the answer (Leviticus 19:1):
“And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, speak to all the congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them: “Holy shall you be because holy am I, Jehovah your God”.
In a verse, prior to the end of the Parashah, the same assertion is repeated (Leviticus 20:26):
“And you shall be holy to me for holy am I, Jehovah…”.
The prescription to becoming a holy nation is delivered in the Parashah in a series of ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s. However, throughout the Parashah, the signature of the Divine is repeated, time and again, as if to remind the listener (or reader), of their Divine source: “I am Jehovah” (For example, Leviticus 19:16).
Here is a sample of those ‘Do’s and ‘Do-not do’s (see elaboration and references on my post “Becoming Holy” — The Bible Prescription):
“Do not walk around offering your merchandise of slander” … “Do not stand still, while your fellow human-being is in a potentially threatening blood-shedding situation. I am Jehovah” … “Do not hate your fellow human-being in your heart” … “Do not do wrong in return for wrong-doing committed unto you” … “Do not reserve resentment” … “Love thy neighbour as yourself. I am Jehovah”.
Let us relate to resentment (see also my post “Speak Hebrew and Be Righteous”).
Hebrew for “Resentment” (or “Grudge”) is Tinah. Tin is Hebrew for “Silt” (mud that sinks to the bottom of the pool).
The Hebrew language educates: Resentment is like silt.
The latter rests silently at the bottom of a pool of water, nearly undetected, until the pool’s water is disturbed. The mud then rises up to blur and obscure all that shape up under the surface of the water.
Likewise, resentment can be hidden from view (even your own) until triggered into action. Once activated, old grudges rise up to blur and obscure all that is shaping up inside your psyche, rendering your soul non-transparent. This results in distorted vision of reality, in impairing relationships with family and friends and ultimately in poor judgement in decision-making scenarios.
However, there is also an extremely positive side to Tinah. Once activated due to stormy water, it generates an opportunity for Tikkun (“Correction”). The dirt in your soul becomes visible, in full view for you to understand the negative sides of your soul, and to take action to purify yourself from all the dirt and poison that have sunk into you, becoming invisible over the years.
In other words: As a result of stormy water, you undergo a process of Detoxification. Your heart becomes purified.
I believe this is an accurate description of the root of the mayhem, now generating big waves throughout Israel.
The process is both positive and negative.
The positive side is that one may consider the gigantic waves, now rattling Israel, and their expected final result, mass Detoxification, as fulfillment of a biblical prophecy:
- Ezekiel (11:19): “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will remove the stony heart out of their flesh and will give them a heart of flesh”;
- Ezekiel (36:25-26): “..I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I would remove the stony heart out of your flesh and gave you a heart of flesh”.
However, this process of cleansing, of Detoxification, is not riskless. It may expose Israel to grave dangers. Israel’s enemies smell internal weakness within the country as predators smell blood. We have been there before. Prior to the Six-Day War (June, 1967), Israel was in decline, economically and otherwise. The general sentiment of Israelis was that of despair and lack of hope. Emigration out of the country assumed unusual proportions. The most widespread cynical joke of the time stated that at the gate of outgoing flights, at Ben-Gurion Airport. there is a label stating: “The last one, please turn off the light” (!!!). Some humor!
Will the current status of the country, outwardly looking like fragile and falling apart, will it trigger an all-out assault against Israel’s very existence?
We hope not.
And we hope that the current internal turmoil the country is going through ultimately prove to be a necessary change of heart (from stone to flesh), and a healing process that started with quarrel (Yariv*) but would end up in great joy (Simcah*).
* Yariv and Simchah are first names of, respectively, Israel Justice Minister and chair of Knesset Judicial Committee, both main figures to carry out the planned (and controversial) judicial reform.