Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Ki Sisa

Inclusiveness

The Torah in this week’s parsha discusses the composition of the rare and fragrant incense that was offered daily on the golden altar in the mishkan and later in the Temple. The exact formulation of the incense is not given – i.e. the amount of each of the ingredients relative to the entire amount of incense produced – but some of the thirteen different spices and herbs described later in the Talmud as being the components of the Temple incense are mentioned in the parsha.

Among the ingredients mentioned is chelbanah – usually translated in English as being galbanum. This spice was one that did not emit a pleasant odor. This may have been true when used alone but apparently when it was combined with the other pleasant smelling spices, the total effect was intoxicatingly wonderful and very pleasant aromatically. The Talmud saw in this use of chelbanah in the incense formulation a moral and social lesson for all of Israel and for all time.

The Talmud teaches us that any public fast day that does not include “the sinners of Israel” in its program of prayer and fasting is deficient in its role. Rashi here in the parsha emphasizes that point. Rashi states that they are not to be treated “lightly” and that they are to be included and “counted with us.”

The Talmud certainly indicates with this statement that we are to be inclusive of Jews who are sinners, who do not act as we wish them to behave and with whom we are therefore loath to associate. This attitude of exclusion is unfortunately the usual pattern of behavior in our religious world where the tendency to greater and greater exclusivity amongst Jews has become the accepted rule of our different societies.

Nevertheless, there has been great progress in attempting to reach out to the “sinners of Israel” and to expose them to our religious and national agenda. I speak not only of the continuing accomplishments of the institutions that have headed Jewish outreach for the past number of decades, but of new initiatives to help unite the Jewish people and restore the traditions of Judaism to Jews who, through no immediate fault of their own, are estranged or ignorant of their rich heritage.

Megillat Esther was read for the first time in a number of kibbutzim this Purim. Jewish education lectures are being given in places where previously Judaism was not allowed to conflict with the dogmas and religion of Marxism. Changing someone else’s lifestyle in midstream is difficult to accomplish. But bringing people who evidently wish to be part of the Jewish people, to prayer, to observe fast days and to celebrate feast days without preconditions and maximum demands, and having patience and true concern while doing this, is possible and very necessary.

A united Jewish people, with all of the internal differences that will always remain within our society, is seen to be equal to the great formulation of the incense in the Temple. That formulation produced a marvelous fragrance and engendered joy. Our attempts to unite the Jewish people are also guaranteed to produce great joy and positive purpose for all of Israel.

Shabat shalom.

Rabbi Berel Wein


Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com

Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Our Consolation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Journey from Egypt to the World-to-Come
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Marriage Vows
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

ArtScroll

What to Make of My Summer Break?!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Power of Prayer
Shlomo Katz - 5763

The Reuven/Gad Syndrome
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Daughters of Tzlofchad
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

An Ounce of Prevention
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

A Future Built on the Past
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Ramban: Why was Parshas Nedarim given over specifically to
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

> Vows: The Power of Speech
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Stay Cool
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Recognizing the Honor and Kindness of Others
Rabbi Yona Zohn - 5761

Appreciation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772



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