Wednesday, April 25, 2007

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The One and Many

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

This week we read two portions of the Torah. The first is Acharei.

It was during the Yom Kippur service that the High Priest was to go into the Holy of Holies, and Hashem said, “ . . . in a cloud I will appear upon the Ark-cover.”[i] Aaron would bring the required sacrifices, and he would atone for the people’s sins. Thus the name “Day of Atonement.”

In Hebrew and in English, the name of the day refers to similar concepts, such as appease, redeem, amend, and such. The Hebrew has an additional meaning that the English does not have, and the English has a meaning that is not readily seen in the Hebrew.

The Hebrew word Kipur comes from the root “to cover.” And this is what this day does. It covers over our sins. Also, Hashem would appear in a cloud upon the Ark-cover. And His Presence would cover the cover.

In English, the further meaning is found in the word “atone”--at one. When there is a sin that is not forgiven, there is friction, unrest. When there is forgiveness, the friction ceases and the feeling of one returns.

When the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice upon the altar he would count in a most unusual way. He had to sprinkle it seven times and each time he would say the number of that count. The sages tell us that he counted this way so he would not forget. But the way he counted also had a deeper meaning. He would count,

--One

--One and two

--One and three

--One and four

--One and five

--One and six

--One and seven.

If the sole reason for counting was not to forget which sprinkle he was sprinkling, he could have simply counted one, two, three, four, . . .. But by counting this way, we see the one of Atonement. “One” refers to the All. “One and two.” The “two” refers to the two found in the physical perspective of the one, for instance, “you and I are two.” “One and three” says that all is One and it is also three, for instance, “you, me and it. “One and four”: Again, the One is always one, even though there certainly are four and five, six, seven, and so on here.

He was atoning for the many by bringing them back the peace that comes from recognizing the One.

[i] Lev 16:3

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.

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