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 May 30, 2017/5 Sivan 5777  
 
The Golem and the Dybbuk
Riddle:
1. What do Passover and Shavuot have in common?
2. What do Jerusalem and the State of Israel have in common?
3. What do Judaism and Zionism have in common?
And, finally,
4. What do a golem and a dybbuk have in common?
Despite the apparent differences in each couple, they all share one salient item in common—each is incomplete without the other; each must supplement the other to become a truly viable entity. Now, let us review the list.
1. Passover and Shavuot. There is no genuine freedom in a state of anarchy, just the illusion of freedom. We left Egypt and the bonds of physical slavery but while in Egypt we had descended down to the 49th level of moral and spiritual impurity. We had become a rudderless ship, or a ship without a navigator and compass. Was the freedom we obtained upon leaving Egypt a freedom to do whatever we wanted whenever and with whomever we wanted? ABSOLUTELY NOT! There was a purpose behind  our being freed—to become a light unto the nations. How? Well, for that we needed the Torah, a Divine gift by which we would climb the rungs to perfect ourselves, and by example, the other nations of the world. Passover and Shavuot are in reality two sides of the same coin. Freedom without Hashem’s Law is anarchy and if the Law had been given to an enslaved people, much of it would have had no validity.
2. Jerusalem and the State of Israel. In a libel suit, Henry Ford, an anti-Semite, was once asked, “What was the US before 1776?” Lacking any education in history, the auto mogul replied, “Land, I guess”! Was ancient Israel complete before David stormed the Jebusite city and made it the capital of the First Jewish Commonwealth? Of course not—Shiloh was not destined to remain the focus of our religious and nationalist aspirations and devotions. We needed to establish Jewish sovereignty in the same “place” that the Lord instructed Abraham to bring his only son for the ultimate test. When Germany was divided after World War II the West German Federal Republic had no choice but to establish its capital in Bonn but years later, when Krushchev’s Wall came down, one of the first acts of the Germans was to relocate the ministries of the Republic to Berlin. To the Germans, Germany without Berlin was no a complete sovereign Germany. Need I say more?
3. Judaism and Zionism. So many of the 613 Commandments in the Torah were meant to be observed in the Land of Israel—indeed, so many of them CANNOT be performed anywhere else! True, when the 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70 CE and we were exiled for 19 painful centuries, we practiced a shadow of our religion in the galut but the Passover Seder was not the same and so too, were many of the other holidays and aspects of Judaism. We were intended to be a nation, yes, but somewhat unlike the others, but a nation nevertheless. “Am Yisrael” has two meanings: The People of Israel AND The Nation of Israel. Clearly, our religion is unlike any other: Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc. are not defined by any compulsory  attachment to a physical location; whenever a Jew prays, however, he/she faces the Land of Israel. In our prayers, such as for rain, we must keep our thoughts directed not to the wheat fields of Kansas but to the farmlands of Israel. A Jew without his land is not complete and, in truth, a totally secular Zionist with no attachment to Judaism is also incomplete because we were given this Land to follow a special way of life, to observe many Commandments which cannot be observed elsewhere.
And, finally,
4. A golem and a dybbuk. What is a golem and what is a dybbuk? A dybbuk is a restless, wandering soul believed to be able to haunt the living and, because  it is incomplete, attempts to possess a living body. A golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter, specifically clay or mud. (The word was used to describe an amorphous, unformed material mentioned in Psalms and medieval writings). The golem was a physical body which lacked a soul, the divine spirit which we assume is incorporated into every human being. A human being cannot be human without both the spirit and the body. The Frankenstein monster was a spiritless entity, just as was the Golem of Prague created by the Maharal. The dybbuk in the original play was the soul of a man who dies young and desperately clings to the body of his beloved because love is both spiritual and corporeal. The custom of cutting off one of the fringes of a man’s tallit upon his death was performed to signify that the dead are not required, indeed, unable, to perform mitzvot. G-d gave the Torah to the living, not the dead. To be alive is to possess a body and a soul. The golem has no soul and the dybbuk lacks a body.  Both are incomplete entities.
       It is no accident of history that Passover precedes Shavuot. The latter depends on the former and the former is incomplete without the latter. The Land without the Jews failed to produce, and the Jew without his Land was not a total Jew.
çâ ùáòåú ùîç!
                                        Sy                   
 
 

 





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