Blemishes are a problem. Whether for a teenage girl or for a Temple offering, having a blemish is not a good thing. Sometimes just a scratch or a bruise is enough to render an offering unacceptable. This might strike us as odd. How seemingly superficial. Certainly it would seem that we should not be judged by appearances. Character is so much deeper than that.
Perhaps the Hebrew word can shed some light on this question. The word for blemish in Hebrew is mum (pronounced moom). It closely resembles mayim, the word for water- mem VAV mem, instead of mem YUD mem. Mayim is compared to , to healing, to cleansing. Mum is symbolic of rupture, of tearing, of defect.
This teaches us that sometimes you can have the right FRAMEWORK in place, but the interior, or the substance is defective. The MEMS look fine. But what is BETWEEN the MEMS? In other words, on the outside surface, everything seems to be alright. But if you look deeper, you can see the defect.
The is not saying we should judge by the outside only. What the is teaching is that if we have to be so careful to make judgements on the *outside* in matters of holiness, HOW MUCH MORE SO are we to be careful with regard to interior blemishes. If we need be careful to discern imperfection on the outside, then we should even cast our gaze on what is on the inside, the letters of the seem to be telling us.
But is this a sign of pettiness? Of superficiality? Absolutely not. Just the opposite. It would be petty and superficial to ONLY look at the outside. The apple may look shiny and delicious, but a tiny worm hole may reveal an inner core that is wormy and putrid.
But the deepest lesson is this: that the blemish can yet be healed. The letter VAV in the middle of the word MuM can easily be transformed into the letter YUD, just by taking a little bit away. No need to add anything. But by thinking about what negativity you can eliminate in your life, it is definitely possible to transform the vav into a yud, the blemish into a blessing.
Anything is possible if we make the necessary changes.
© 2000-2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua 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.
Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)