Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Re'eh - 5772

"The Inflicted Blemish"

You are the children of Hashem your God: you shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For you are a holy people unto Hashem your God, and Hashem has chosen you to be a special people, above all the nations that are upon the earth. (Devarim Chapter 14)

 

This paragraph is a testament that reminds the Jewish people of their special role. As children of the Al-mighty we are told not to feel forlorn when we lose a loved one but rather to be mindful of our special and constant relationship with Hashem as his children. The text continues by warning the Jewish people, "Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing."

Rashi explains that the abomination referred to in the verse is a situation where a Cohen receives a firstborn animal that must be brought to the temple, and with the intention of financial gain, inflicts a blemish upon the animal to disqualify it from the alter and as a result, keeps it for himself. What we must try to figure out is why the Torah juxtaposes the statement regarding the significance of the Jew, to the warning regarding the blemish that relates to a technical detail of the laws of sacrifices. The commentators explain that the message regarding the blemish is not just about animals, but rather can be understood as a theme that relates to humans as well.

People, due to personal events in their lives, are at times inspired to do more spiritually. Unfortunately the growth does not always come to fruition because the individual, remembering his flaws, deems himself inadequate and develops the feeling that he is not qualified to become connected to the higher being. In other words the growth is halted due to an "inflicted blemish". This attitude is what the Torah identifies as an abomination. As children of Hashem we must remember how significant we are in his eyes and as a result we must appreciate what we are in our own eyes.

After boosting our self esteem we will not focus on blemishes but rather realize how much we can contribute to the welfare of the nation of Israel, to humanity and to the world.

Shabbat Shalom