Get a Kick out of Kedusha!

The World Cup and this week's Torah reading have something in common: aiming for the right goal.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7

The upcoming World Cup of Soccer and this week's Torah reading, B'ha'alotcha: Is there a connection between the two? Of course there is! This portion is known as the Mitlon'nim ("complainers") and we Jews, at times, can be world champions in the art of complaining (e.g. "Such poor food, & such small portions, too!"). We can be experts at finding fault.

But what did we have to complain about while traveling in the desert? Our food fell from Heaven, the pillars of cloud and fire protected us, Moshe Rabbeinu, Moses himself taught us Torah, our clothes miraculously grew with us; life seemed ideal and idyllic.

So why did we kvetch so much? Why did we turn up our noses at the manna which fell from Heaven and say, "We remember the fish we freely ate in Egypt..." What are we, seafood lovers all of a sudden? And since when is Egypt famous for its fish?

The commentary Kli Yakar tries to make sense of it all. He says the real issue in our Torah reading is the challenge of balancing Passion and Principle. On the one hand, we definitely need passion in our lives, as it provides drive, energy and enthusiasm, all qualities vital to the human condition.

On the other hand, our passions - if left unchecked and unchallenged - can be the single greatest source of our
sins. The incident of the quails sent by G-d in answer to our complaints about the lack of meat - when we ate to excess with obsessive, wild abandon - and the Torah reading's closing episode - where Miriam and Aaron, unable to control their impulse, speak out against Moshe - demonstrate passion's dual-edged sword that must be carefully controlled.

At the root of the peoples' inner restlessness, say our Sages, was the structure of family purity and the restrictions on marriage that now applied to us, Bnei Yisrael. No longer could we cohabit with just anyone, in or out of marriage. ln a veiled code, this may be the meaning of the verse, "We remember the daga (fish);" as in "V'yidgu l'rov" - you shall multiply greatly," (fish are a metaphor for procreation). The discipline of the commandments regarding sexual behavior meant that "free" - unrestricted, unbridled - relationships are inappropriate for a holy people, Am Yisrael.

The manna, no matter how it may have tasted, always looked the same, and so we soon got bored with it and craved real, succulent, juicy meat. Life in the desert - especially since we did not work there - could become terribly tedious, and so we turned to gossiping about others, speaking lashon hara (slander) and minding other people's business. "Idle hands are the devil's tools."

The challenge of life is to approach each day with zeal, enthusiasm and passion. But that vital energy must be
channeled and expressed in a holy, dignified way that perfects our Neshama (soul) and emulates our Creator.

Getting a "kick" out of Kedusha (holiness) is the real "goal" to shoot for.



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