Weekly Articles

The Word "If"
May 7th, 2020
The Word "If"

“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to Aharon, saying: Any man of your offspring throughout their generations in whom there will be a blemish shall not come near to offer the food of his G-d.” (Vayikra 21:16-17)


What, kohanim have to be perfect?!


Yes, my friends, we have to strive for perfection, because we are all “mamleches kohanim … a nation of priests.” (Shemos 19:6). The Mishkan required spiritual, mental and physical health because from there the purity of Shomayim entered the world. We have to know that such purity exists and try to our utmost ability to attain it. 


Our current plague is not over, and there is a cosmic message in this makkah. I want to share with you a recent letter from Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, Rosh Yeshiva of Aish ha Torah and Rosh Kollel of the Jerusalem Kollel. The relevant reference is extremely short, in fact it is only one word! Here is the sentence: “Nobody in this world knows if, when and how this [pandemic] is going to end.” 


Do you see anything here that hits you hard? One word hit me like a tsunami. The word is “if.” Yes, two letters: “if.”


On the word “if” hangs a world of meaning, possibly the key to survival. 


I want to point out a fascinating parallel. In the story of Mitzraim, it is always noted how Paro made his heart stubborn after each plague and refused to acknowledge the hand of Hashem. We point to his terrible obstinacy. 


What would happen if our current plague goes away in a few weeks? Wouldn’t we want to say, “It’s all over! Now back to normal?” 


I mamash want to ask mechila, but this is exactly what Paro did!


This makkah is coming from Shomayim. It is coming for a reason. 


Did you notice the explosive passage in the Haftara we read recently on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh? The Novi is describing what will happen to the enemies of Hashem in the days preceding the Geula Shelemah: “Together those will be consumed who eat the flesh of swine, of abominable creatures and rodents … the words of Hashem.” (Yeshiah 66:17)


Do you hear this? Just contemplate for a minute, if you can bear it, how this plague began! It is too abominable to imagine, but it happened. Look where our world is! Look at the words of the Novi, who wrote approximately 2600 years ago. 


My dear friends, do you really think we are going back to “normal?” 


No, we are going upward from here, to a new dawn, a new day, a world which will never be the same, “For just as the new heavens and new earth that I will make will endure before Me – the words of Hashem – so will your offspring and your name endure!” (ibid 66:22)


We are mamleches kohanim, and we will wear the garments of purity, bringing into the world kedusha that will last forever, “for each one is holy to his G-d!” (Vayikra 21:7) 


L’ag B’Omer is coming. The plague will end, but we will never be the same.

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