Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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National and Universal Messages of the Shma - Ain Ayah- Rav Kook

By: Rav Moshe Ganz

Rav Moshe Ganz, ram in Yeshivat Sha'alvim, conveys the first passage of Ain  Ayah of Rav Kook on Masechet Berachot. Edited by Rav Daniel Hershonson.

The Mishnah states that the recitation of the Shema in the evening commences  at the time that Kohanim (whom were in a state of impurity and had immersed  themselves in a mikvah) are permitted to consume Terumah. The gemara  comments that this time is synonymous with the appearance of the stars  (Tzeit HaKochavim). Why does the gemara mention the time of the Kohanim  instead of simply stating Tzeit HaKochavim? The gemara responds that the  Mishnah was interested in informing us of an additional halacha- the  permissibility of the Kohanim to partake in Terumah at night (as opposed to  waiting until the next day, after the bringing of sacrifices that are  included in the process of attaining purity).

Rav Kook inquires, why the Mishnah is insistent upon teaching us this  particular halacha. What is the significance of Kohanim whom are permitted  to partake of Terumah?

The recitation of the Shema proclaims that Hashem is the source of all  existence. This proclamation operates on two planes. On an internal level,  the Jewish People fortifies its' faith in the Hashem. The call of the Shema  additionally is intended to inspire all peoples of the world, to instruct  them of the G-dly truth.

The recitation of the Shema at night represents the exile. In such a  situation we must focus upon the internal Shema. It is necessary to fortify  our faith in Hashem, in order to prevent the infiltration of negative  influences that lurk in times of exile. Subsequent to the Shema in the  evening we recite the blessing that commences "truth and belief" (emet  ve'emunah)- we suffice in the faith of our forefathers. In such generations  we resemble the Kohanim who partake in the Terumah- that is forbidden (at  the penalty of death via the Heavenly Court) for foreigners to consume. Our focus is aimed inwards.

However, in the time of the redemption, the recitation of the Shema in the  morning will dominate. The morning is a time of clarity. All of Mankind is  ready to recognize the unity of Hashem. In the morning we proclaim "truth  and firm" (emet veyatziv). Yetziv is an Aramaic word. In the time of the  redemption we must translate the G-dly truths into foreign languages.

We remain the Kohanim of Hashem. However, the aspect of the Kohen who  teaches Torah to others and brings the sacrifices is stressed. The future  Shema focuses upon our relationship to the nations of the world, instructing  them how to recognize Hashem.



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Uploaded: 11/21/2005 3:19:26 PM