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Between Two Worlds

14/12/12 08:08:03


R Pesach Siegel

Between Two Worlds

Chanuka 5773

There are wars and there are wars. Wars are fought by kings. In the period of the Davidic dynasty they were fought by kings who descended from the tribe of Yehuda.[1] In the times of Mashiach, wars will be fought by a king descended from the tribe of Yosef.[2]

The war of Chanuka was fought and won by kohanim.

The role of a Jewish king is to rule his kingdom in such a way that G-d’s majesty is apparent in this earthly world of ours. It is incumbent upon him to spread malchus upon the aretz.

Avrohom Avenu was the first Jewish king. He was also the first to call Hashem by the name Ado-nay. Until Avrohom’s time Hashem was the acknowledged master of the heavens. Avrohom brought Hashem’s dominion down to this lowly earth. [3]

Kohanim operate in another sphere altogether. They exist between heaven and earth. They don’t live on earth in the conventional sense of the word. They don’t have a portion in Eretz Yisroel. They aren’t gainfully employed, and do not earn a living. Their natural setting is in the Beis HaMikdash, which is termed as the “Gate of the Heavens.”[4]

When a king goes to war, he goes to war in this world. When a Kohen goes to war, the battlefield is between the two worlds.

As Moshe Rabeinu passed from this world, he blessed the tribe of Levi, “Tume’cha vi’urecha li’ish chasidecha … vi’es echav lo hikir ... yoru mishpatecha li’Yaakov … yasimu ketores bi’apecha - The Urim ViTumim will be worn by the Kohen Gadol, the man of chessed. The Levites executed their own (half) brothers for worshipping the golden calf. They will instruct the nation in the ways of G-d’s Torah, and will offer up incense on the mizbe’ach.[5]

Moshe’s blessing contains the essence of the tribe of Levi. They have the chessed of Avrohom Avenu, the justice of Yitzchok Avenu, and the Torah of Yaakov Avenu.

They offer up the ketores. The word ketores means a knot. It is the bond between the world of chessed, justice, and Torah in this world, and the shamayim.

The Yevanim do not live in a world where this connection exists. They might believe in some primary source, but in their belief system this source has no connection with the world. They place, as their goal and focus, the highest and loftiest elements that exist within the physical world, for they can go no higher. Thus, they worship beauty, the physical body, and philosophy. They are unlike the other nations of the world who follow their animalistic passions alone. [6]

And therein lays the danger.

They provide an attractive alternative to the malchus of Hashem, chas veshalom. Their culture is attractive. It makes sense on some level, for it is filled with harmony. They endeavor to tie up all the loose ends through their philosophical system of reasoning. Their pleasure seeking exists on a higher plane. It is the pleasure sought by thinking individuals. It is the pleasure of thought.

The name of Hashem that represents his malchus on this world is Ado-nay. The numerical value of this name is 65. The numerical value of Yavan is 66.[7]

Were a king to wage war against such an enemy, an enemy of the mind, he would be challenged, for in this world the way of the Yevanim is an alluring one. They don’t fight with arms alone.  A king would never be able to rely on the loyalty of his own people in such a war. There would always be the danger that his people would be drawn over to the other side.

Help must be sought from a source beyond the blinding aspects of this world. Yavan appears attractive, but that is in appearance alone. Their way of life and their wisdom possess a sense of symmetry. Their songs and poems are works of beauty. Their works of art are a creation of beauty. One essential element is missing, the Truth. Something can be beautiful and at the same time be false. An individual’s appearance can be pleasing to the eye and he can be a raging liar.

Being able to tell truth from falsehood, looking past the external aestheticism, is possible only from the higher vantage point of shamayim.

Kohanim are the bridge between shamayim and aretz. The number most affiliated with the mundane aspects of earth is 7. That is why there are 70 nations of the world. That is also why Dovid Hamelech is the seventh shepherd. The middah of malchus is harnessing all the physical aspects of the lowly world and directing them towards avodas Hashem.

The number associated with the upper realms is 8. It represents going past the seven limited aspects of our world. The word sheva is related to the word save’a, which means satisfied. The word shmona is connected to the word shamen, which means over extended and beyond.

The gematria of the word Kohen is 75, for it is they who act as a bridge between the world of seven and the world of eight.[8]

It is they who can tell truth from falsehood. When they fight, they fight from the vantage point of the ketores. It is they who must fight the war.



[1] Breishis, perek 49, posuk 9

[2] Succah, daf 52a

[3] Brachos, daf 7b

[4] Devarim, perek 10, posuk 9

[5] Devarim, perek 33, posuk 8

[6] Kuzari, Maamar Rishon, Os Aleph

[7] Maharal, Ner Mitzva, page 23

[8] ibid.

Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781