14 September 2014

Ani l'Dodi v'Dodi Li


19 Elul 5774

"I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine." (Shir HaShirim - Song of Songs)

It is famously taught that the letters which spell out the month of ELUL is also an acrostic for the above quote and reminds us that returning to Hashem in this month of teshuvah means that we are also returning to our Beloved.

The Sages say that Shir HaShirim actually describes the love relationship between HKB"H and Klal Yisrael, who is likened to a wife. In fact, idolatry - the worship of anything other than HKB"H - is compared to adultery. It's like a faithless wife who takes another lover into her bed. Someone or something else has broken into this exclusive relationship. The prophets are replete with this imagery. 

I noticed something amazing in Parshat Ki Tavo (Devarim 26.17-18):

"You have distinguished Hashem today to be a God for you.... And Hashem has distinguished you today to be for Him a treasured people,...."

[Rashi says: You have selected… has selected you: Heb. הֶאֱמַרְתָּ… הֶאמִירְךָ. We do not find any equivalent expression in the Scriptures [which might give us a clue to the meaning of these words]. However, it appears to me that [the expression הֶאֱמִיר] denotes separation and distinction. [Thus, here, the meaning is as follows:] From all the pagan deities, you have set apart the Lord for yourself, to be your God, and He separated you to Him from all the peoples on earth to be His treasured people. ]

To put into more common parlance, we took Hashem to be our Husband and He took us to be His wife - 'until death do us part'. This is a mutually exclusive relationship. That means we are forbidden to take other gods and Hashem forbids Himself (so to speak) from taking any other people. If our breaking of this marriage vow is for us spiritual adultery, then the same would hold true for the corresponding partner - Hashem.

The point of this is two-fold. 1) Anyone who is not a Jew, but who makes any claim to this exclusive relationship with Hashem is not only a liar, he makes Hashem out to be an adulterer, G-d forbid! 2) Jews, who in some misguided attempt to assuage the feelings of goyim who have no share in this covenant relationship, try to bring them in the back door and allow them some 'right' to participate in it, make the same egregious error, G-d forbid!

While Hashem loves His creation and has a special plan for the gentiles, it is wrong to allow them to have or to teach them that they have some share in Klal Yisrael or the Holy Torah, which is our ketubah, or our Holy Land, which is the marital home or in the Holy Temple, which is the marital bedroom! The Holy Shabbat, too is set aside as an exclusive possession of Klal Yisrael. 

Any gentile who really desires to be a part of this mutually exclusive relationship may do so via halachic conversion and that is the only way that a gentile may LEGALLY learn Torah, settle in Eretz Yisrael, perform 613 mitzvot and partake of the Holy Shabbat.

Hashem is our Husband - exclusively. He has not and never will take any other people unto Himself.

Wishing all of us a good, sweet and blessed New Year~

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