The Man, the Mitzvot, the Moonie

The Torah is an intricate device.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7

Parshat Re'e - continuing Moshe's last and greatest address to his beloved people - is filled with numerous high-
There are no "less important, mundane" expressions of G-d's will.
minded statements about G-d and about life; about the blessings and the curses that are there for the taking; about the dangers of leaving HaShem for strange gods, and the joy that comes through genuine spiritual expression.

It discusses the need to reach out to the poor and to the less fortunate, the uniqueness of our faith; and it outlines the annual events in our calendar year which highlight our liberation (Pesach), our chosen-ness (Shavuot), and our intimacy with a personal, protecting Creator (Sukkot).

Such lofty ideas and ideals!

But then, right at the heart of the sedra, comes a whole section dealing with kashrut, the signs of animals and birds, a discussion of fins and scales, hooves and cuds, pigs and pelicans. We seem to rapidly descend from the Divine to the didactic details of religion.

How often have we met people who lament, "I only wish that Judaism would stick to the eternal lessons of life, teaching me about G-d and morality and ethics, spinning the stories of the great heroes of the Bible. But all these minutiae of ritual, the picayune practices of mundane life - they carry no interest whatsoever for me!"

But as we know, there are no "less important, mundane" expressions of G-d's will; the Torah is an intricate device that works only when all its pieces are fully employed. Kashrut, charity, ethics - all emanate equally from G-d.

During my college days, I worked on the staff of the university newspaper. On one occasion, I was asked to interview Mose Durst, head of the Unification Church -
I asked him, quite innocently, how he had gone from practicing Jew to leader of a cult movement.
better known as "the Moonies" - who had come to campus to speak (and try to recruit students to his cause). Now, Mose - formerly Moshe - was from a good Jewish family in Williamsburg. I asked him, quite innocently, how he had gone from practicing Jew to leader of a cult movement.

He told me that he had been recruited himself by a young lady who had met him and invited him to a lavish dinner. There, he was wined and dined and on the spot initiated into the pagan fold. "So," I asked him, "had you kept strictly kosher, like your family, you would have had to decline the dinner invitation, and you might have stayed a loyal Jew to this very day!"

Stunned, he just stared at me with Sum Dum look on his face, as if I was from another planet.

And he was right. I'm from the planet Jew - a kosher world far, far away from the Man in the Moon.