Friday, March 9, 2012

KI TISA: LOOSE AND WILD

by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman


In the Golden Calf episode of this week's parsha, Moses descends the mountain in a fit of pique, angrily demanding of his brother Aaron how he could have allowed the people to make for themselves an idol, a Golden Calf. And the Torah describes (EX 32:25) Moses as saying that Aaron let the people loose, or go wild (pharua/phraoh). In other words, he was forced by the unruly and wild, untamed mob to violate one of the central commandments of the decalogue, experienced in the recent theophany, expressed in stone, that Thou Shalt have No Other gods Before Me.

An examination of the word for Paro (Pharaoh) is quite fascinating. The Torah could have merely used the common term for king, which is melekh. But it doesn't. It uses the word Paro, a word which also connects to the episode of the Golden Calf which is a central feature of this week's parsha. It also relates to the narrative of the Bitter Waters, the ordeal of the sota, which features later in the Book of Numbers, chapter 5, in parshat Naso.

And back to Naso, the narrative of the Bitter Waters, or alternately, the Jealous Husband, in NUM 5:18, the priest instructs the woman accused by her husband of infidelity to let loose the hair of her head. The word for "let loose" is Pharah (uFarah et rosh haIsha).

How do all these cognate forms of PhaRO (Fey, Resh, Ayin) relate to each other? What thread connects their inner meanings? How do we create any sense of unity to weave together these seemingly disparate narratives?

Jealousy. The jealous husband suspects his wife of disloyalty in the marriage. G*d suspects (with evidence) the Israelite nation of disloyalty to their mutual covenant forged via the Exodus and Sinai. And G*d accuses Pharaoh of stealing the services of Israel, and even their hearts, when they serve Pharaoh instead of the One True G*d in their physical labors, and yearn to return to the comforts of a structured routine and secure life in Egypt, instead of having the proper emunah, the faith in G*d, to follow Him in returning to their land, Eretz Yisrael.

And lack of self discipline. The unruly mob surrounding Aaron is loose, figuratively speaking. They are said to derive from the eirev rav, the mixed multitude of those on-Israelites living in Egypt who at the last second, witnessing Egypt's ruin, threw their lot in with the Hebrews. But once hardship and challenge emerged, they would question their choice and cause dissension.

The sota's hair is untied, loosened, undisciplined, symbolizing her alleged lack of moral discipline in the marriage. And Pharaoh, the supreme ruler of the world's super power du jour, himself lacks the mental discipline to realize that G*d, and not he himself, is the authentic Deity. Arrogating to himself a supremely Divine status, he cuts himself loose from G*d's mercy and grace.

On the level of mussar for personal growth, it is important to understand the message which speaks to us here in the text. A lack of moral self discipline, a loose sense of moral boundaries, augurs ill for the attainment of one's deepest spiritual longings. Self mastery leads to Divine Grace. You cannot master your outer world unless you first master your inner world.

Lastly, it is fascinating to understand that the same root word, PhaRA, connects both the idea of a mob and an autocratic ruler (Pharaoh). When people act like a wild, unruly mob, they require the firm hand of autocratic suppression to maintain social order and security. And when people have the moral self discipline to resist the mob mentality, to rather assert their individual sense of moral boundaries, are they then deserving of a new type of rule - enlightened self rule. For as they master themselves, so shall their master be.


Shabbat Shalom

© 2000-2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.

No comments:

NEVER GIVE UP!

Loading...

Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

moshav band live at mexicali blues

Loading...

What mind is it?

"Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people."
-Eleanor Roosevelt


ON FIXING AND HEALING...

"If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix..... If you believe that you can harm, then believe that you can heal..........." Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Hatiqwa

Loading...

Beta Israel - Ethiopian Jews - The Ingathering from Without

Loading...

Palestinians of Jewish origin - The Ingathering from Within

Loading...

Holy Wedding at Makhpela, Tomb of our Fathers in hevron - Music by Pey Dalid

Loading...

Mariane Paradise and The Gan Eden Project sings of the Unity of All Creation from Jerusalem

Loading...

A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD

Loading...

IVDU ET HASHEM B'SIMCHA- SERVE THE LORD WITH JOY DANCING AND SINGING FROM INSIDE A BOMB SHELTER

Loading...

SELICHOT LIVE AT CARLEBACH SHUL 2008

Loading...

NAZI RALLIES AND SPEECHES

Loading...

JEWISH MEN AND WOMEN GATHER TO CELEBRATE REB SHLOMO'S 14TH YAHRZEIT SINGING AT HIS GRAVE

Loading...

MOSHAV BAND - THE ONLY ONE

Loading...

Reb Zalman on Jewish Renewal

Loading...

Let There Be Peace

Loading...
"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

- anonymous
"Perhaps the greatest force in the entire universe is compounded interest."

- Albert Einstein

the last hoshana rabba with reb shlomo and me playing together the week before he took off in '94

Loading...

bob marley - one love 6:13 (6 MINUTES 13 SECONDS) and exodus

Loading...

Tisha B'Av 5765 Katif Expulsion

Loading...

Children of Sderot - The Daily Terror and Nightmares

Loading...

Let Me Sing a New Song

Loading...

On Schlomo's magnificent 13th (Bar Mitzvah) yahrzeit in Heaven

Loading...

AMAZING INTERVIEW WITH REB SHLOMO top video only

Loading...

Larry David wants to Save the Planet

Loading...

Havdalah Ceremony on Moshav Meor Modiin in Central Israel

Loading...

Alpha blondy from cote d'ivoire sings his love of Jerusalem in Hebrew and French all over the world

Loading...
When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.- Abraham Joshua Heschel
The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the most important thing is to not be afraid.
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
"The greatest thing in the world is to do somebody else a favor." - Aish Kodesh
"As you want G*d to give you a chance, give everyone else a chance to also begin again." - Shlomo Carlebach

About Me

My photo
United States
I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!