banner2.gif
  Torah from Dixie leftbar.gif [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []    [top_passo.jpg]

THE CUTTING EDGE

by Rabbi Yonason Goldson    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

"And the one who eats [of the peace offering from the third day] will bear his sin . . and that soul will be spiritually excised from its people. And when you cut the harvest of your land, do not cut the corner of your field . . . leave them for the poor . . ." (Leviticus 19:8-10).

complete_story.gif    

[]

"And the one who eats [of the peace offering from the third day] will bear his sin . . and that soul will be spiritually excised from its people. And when you cut the harvest of your land, do not cut the corner of your field . . . leave them for the poor . . ." (Leviticus 19:8-10).

The ramifications of spiritual excision are frightening indeed. Whereas the other proscribed punishments of the Torah, even execution, function to exempt a person from further culpability in order that he should be free to enjoy his reward in the next world without suffering as a consequence of his sins, spiritual excision (kares) serves to sever absolutely and eternally the connection of this individual soul with the collective soul of the Jewish people.

Thus, one who had once transgressed a prohibition carrying the punishment of kares might come to believe that he has forever forfeited his special relationship with Hashem as a member of the Jewish people. To this person the Torah answers that no Jew ever removes himself so completely from the fold that he may not return. Even if he has done damage to his spiritual well-being through his transgressions, if he seeks to undo the damage Hashem will welcome his return.

The Torah alludes to this through the juxtaposition of these two otherwise unrelated verses: ". . .and that soul will be spiritually excised from its people. And when you cut the harvest. . . ." If you have "cut yourself off" from your inheritance in the next world, do not "cut yourself off from the corner of your field," meaning your portion in the world to come; rather "leave them for the poor", i.e. for yourself who has become spiritually impoverished. The Torah means to say that one must not abandon hope of return by assuming that he is completely forsaken. Building from whatever remains, seek to return to Hashem and He will welcome you.

[]

The thoughts in this D'var Torah were originally expressed by the Or Hachaim, the famous 18th century Kabbalist and popular commentary on the Torah.

Rabbi Yonason Goldson is a teacher at the Yeshiva High School of Atlanta.

You are invited to read more Parshat Kedoshim articles.

Would you recommend this article to a friend? Let us know by sending an e-mail to editor@tfdixie.com

butombar.gif [] [] [] []