Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Emor

The Torah reading of this week concludes with a discussion of the sin of blaspheming the name of God. The Torah places this prohibition within an anecdotal context, describing an event that occurred in the camp of the Jewish people in the desert of Sinai. Two Jews had a quarrel that rapidly disintegrated into a public fight. The quarrel originally had to do with the ancestry of one of the Jews. When the quarrel between the two Jews finally went out of control, the act of blasphemy of God's name took place. There is, in my opinion, a strong connection and lesson involved in the juxtaposition of these events.

Anti-God utterances and events, so to speak, are rarely if ever, occasioned in a vacuum. It is usually the behavior or speech of a human that evokes a response that eventually refers to God. There are events in life, tragedies or inexplicable events, that may trigger such a response as well. But, overwhelmingly, blasphemy of God's name occurs when human behavior towards other humans is involved. And this is especially true when the subject matter of the dispute between the people involved is connected to matters of religion, ritual, faith and belief. This was the case in the dispute recorded in the Torah reading of this week and it was the insulting of one Jew by another that became the direct cause of the blasphemy of God's name that followed. Bad and false ideas, distortion of laws and tradition, improper behavior, are all entitled to direct and forceful criticism. However, personal demonization and venomous insults, even if allegedly made in the name of a just cause, lead eventually to a desecration and blasphemy of God's name.

There is much shouting and quarrelling in the Jewish world today. The noise is so great that we can no longer hear each other, let alone attempt to understand the other person. And each side feels justified in its pursuit of the quarrel, for there are major and fundamental life issues involved. But when the matter gets out of hand, when it is personalized and is no longer a matter of issues but of people, the blasphemy of God's name is never far distant. Much of our present quarrelling has become institutionalized. It is organizational. There are political parties and social and religious groups within the Jewish people today whose sole apparent purpose is to oppose and personally demonize other Jewish groups and people. That is not much of a raison d'etre to exist. Negativism breeds negativism, hatred breeds hatred, and all of it leads to the cardinal sin in Judaism - the desecration and blasphemy of God's name. We should attempt at all costs to avoid falling into this failing and communal trap. It can, as it did in the case of the original blasphemer recorded in Emor, lead to, God forbid, death and destruction.

Shabat Shalom.

Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright © 2000 Rabbi Berel Wein and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Of Threads and Shoelaces
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

It's All About Redemption Part III
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

Bordering on the Holy Land
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Hey, Hey, Hey!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Once a Jew, Always a Jew
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

The Perfect Covenant
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

ArtScroll

Neither a Thread Nor a Shoelace
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

From Egypt to Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Abraham's Dwelling
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

> Every Drop Matters
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

A "Sneak Preview" of History
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Participating in G-ds Master Plan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

That Fire Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Avraham's Legacy to his Descendants
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

The Lech Lecha Test Rates Higher Than The Ur Kasdim Test
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

No Pain, No Gain
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information