Tuesday, September 11, 2007

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Thoughts on the Parsha

by Aharon Hoffman at Mystical Paths

From this weeks parsha, Deut. 29:15-16.

You know full well that we lived in Egypt, and what has befallen us in the territories of the nations we passed through. You saw disgusting, putrid idols of wood, stone, gold and silver that are among them.

The journey of the Jews through these nations showed the futility of the idol worshiping cultures since Israel moved unharmed through them, even when attacked by them. The commentaries say that the reason the Jews had to go through these nations was to “prepare the Diaspora” (exile of the future) for the Jews. Since the holy people and mobile sanctuary went through these nations and lands a certain small amount of holiness was imparted by the very contact with the Jews. This would allow the exile to accept the Jews on some level when the exile came. Also, this was the first blow of the Jews in ending world idolatry. The Gentiles had idols of wood, stone, gold and silver. They hid the gold and silver idols fearing the Jews would steal them, but not the wood and stone idols. This forced these gentiles into recognizing that rather than these “gods” protecting them, they had to protect their gods. This began the lessening of their own respect for such things and the realization of their powerlessness. So too, have the Jewish people caused a lessening of idolatry in the wider world over the years (as per Rambam's comments on the role of Christianity and Islam). May this trend continue.

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