Friday, June 28, 2013

Special Burial At Mount Zion, Humane just Human and Faithful

The celebration has been exceptional in many ways: the circumstance of the death of a Russian Orthodox woman on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land at Easter - her passing-away at the Mount of Olives and a certain time of expectancy before she really proved to be "died". The donation of her organs at hadassah that allowed saving three Israeli lives. The question that exists of how and when a dead person can donate organs to save other lives. I have been visiting Hadassah for years as the representative of the Rum/Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, comfort the sick, assist those that are dying, the children. I said to Dr. Kyrill Grosovsky that Hadassah is a real "church in the sense of Grea tAssembly or Congregation" where all fight for all in order to save few humans. As a priest in Israeli society, this celebration in the middle of the Mount Zion cemetery of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in the presence of the representative of Hadassah Hospital, Irina P. and her assistant, Nabil, the Arab Orthodox man in charge of the burials at the cemetery and the Arab workers of the cemetery who paid a lot of respect and silence during the celebration, quiet in listening to the prayers both in hebrew and Slavonic (Church Russian), marked a very profound act of faith and confidence. In particular at Zion, where the Church was born from the Holy Spirit as we celebrated last Sunday. This Saturday night and Sunday morning, the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem will celebrate All Saints. The challenge of faith in this act of burying a person who donated her organs to save local sick people interrogates the Church and morals, both Orthodoxy and Judaism. It is a great commandment to do all possible things and acts in order to save one single life. The new aspect is that this Russia nOrthodox woman on her pilgrimage could - by the assentment of her family - donate the organs that have saved three individuals - also that the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem did accept to bury her at Zion, the Mother of All the Churches.

May I add that I have been visiting the sick for more than 35 years as also in Jerusalem and Israli society with the blessing of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and of course H.B. Theophilos of Jerusalem and Archbishop Aristarchos, Secretary General. I was glad to bring this soul and body to rest in this place, assisted by our Arab Orthodox brothers and assistants, Irina P. whom I know quite well (from her very arrival to Israel). In such a context, we were the Church as a whole, in totality, together with the representative of the Hadassah Hospital transplantation Department. There are steles and names in the cemetery of Mount Zion: the departed rest in peace there, where faith rose and developed till the ends of the world. it was also then possible to make a connection with the neighboring Jerusalem "Yad VaShem/יד ושם '' Memorial Institution, where those who perished without any funerals or decent place with a stele and a name for ever call us, in particular this weekend to think of human, humane attitude. Tobiyah spent his time to bury the dead he found. Just as Abraham had bought the "cave of Machpelah" for Sarah his wife and their descent, the ancestors. The saints are those who are "melting" while being very, highly humane (mentschlech/מענטשלעך as said in Yiddish) showing that love and loving-kindness, mercy and and tenderness are signs of Divine Presence and of the Resurrected Lord, just as the bones in the valley woke up and revived in Ezekiel chapter 37.

Hadassah News


Pilgrimage Ends With Organ Donations at Hadassah

A few weeks ago, a 61-year-old Christian tourist from Russia died in Israel after a heart attack; her organs, though, lived to save two lives.
During a pilgrimage to the holy Christian sites in Israel, the woman suffered extensive brain damage and was immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Hadassah Medical Organization. After numerous efforts to save her life were unsuccessful, she was pronounced brain dead.
When A 61-year-old Christian tourist from Russia suffered a massive heart attack during a pilgrimage to the holy Christian sites in Israel a few weeks ago, Hadassah's organ transplant coordinator made sure the woman received a dignified funeral and burial.
Kyrill Grosovsky, the organ transplant coordinator at Hadassah, located the woman's two adult children in Russia and spoke with them. They decided to donate their mother's organs, and asked that their mother be buried in Jerusalem, as she was a religious woman and this would be something she would want.
Because of the organ transplants performed at Hadassah last week, a 55-year-old man suffering from Hepatitis B with a malignant liver tumor received a new liver. The recipient is a new immigrant, who had moved to Israel last August. He is currently recuperating in Hadassah Hospital Hospital-Ein Kerem's surgical ward.
Another patient, a 63-year-old man suffering from diabetes and hypertension, received a new kidney. He has already been released from the hospital. The organ transplants were performed simultaneously by Dr. Hadar Merhav, Director of the transplantation unit at Hadassah, and Dr. Abed Khalaileh and Dr. Muhammad Faroja.
Although it was not his responsibility, Grosovsky decided to make sure that the Russian woman received a dignified funeral. He embarked on a mission that became more challenging every hour.
The process took several days and included talks with various government authorities in Israel, but also in Russia and the Ukraine, as well as with various figures from the Greek Orthodox Church in Israel and in Russia. Grosovsky was able to attain all the necessary documents needed for the woman's burial.
The funeral took place a few days ago and a photograph of the woman's grave was sent to her family back in Russia. Hadassah also arranged for a wreath with the word "Hadassah" in Russian on it.
"This whole event emphasizes both the international and humane aspects of organ transplantation, as well as love for one's fellow man," said Dr. Merhav. "Hadassah is proud to be an institution that is open to all, regardless of religion, race or gender. The complexity of this situation also shows the need for multidisciplinary teams from all hospital departments with the ability to operate in real-time situations."
Further in Yediot Ahronot in English:

Tourist's organs save lives of 3 Israelis

Christian woman dies of heart attack during pilgrimage to holy sites in Israel. Her children, from Russia, agree to donate her organs. In show of gratitude, Greek Orthodox Church buries woman on its property on Mount Zion
Dr. Itay Gal
Published: 06.28.13, 13:11 / Israel Culture

For the first time, a Christian tourist has donated her organs to Israelis and was even buried in Israel. Thanks to her donation, the lives of three people were saved.

About two months ago, during an Easter pilgrimage to Christian holy sites in Israel, a 61-year-old Russian tourist suffered a heart attack. She was rushed to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, suffering from extensive brain damage, and was hospitalized at the Intensive Care Unit.

Halachic Ruling

Rabbi okays HIV-positive organ donation / Dr. Itay Gal

In halachic precedent, Israel's former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron rules life-saving organ donation can be received from HIV-positive patient, even if recipient may be infected with disease
Full story

Doctors fought for her life, but several days later they were forced to pronounce her brain dead.

The organ transplant coordinator at Hadassah, Kyrill Grosovsky, located the woman's two adult children in Russia, and after several conversations they agreed to donate their mother's organs. As she was a devout Christian, her children asked that she receive a religious burial in Israel in order to ensure a proper closure.

The Greek Orthodox Church does not usually bury Christians who are not Israeli residents on its property on Mount Zion, but agreed to give the woman a dignified Christian funeral and burial in Israel due to her organ donation and following appeals from officials in the Religious Affairs and Interior ministries and from Archbishop Aristarchos, who serves as the secretary-general of the of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
הלוויית התיירת. הטקס התקיים בשתי שפות ( )
Tourist's funeral held in two languages

The ceremony was held in two languages, Hebrew and Russian, by the Church's representative, Father Alexander. A wreath of flowers was laid on behalf of the Hadassah hospital, and another on behalf of the travel agency which brought the tourist to Israel.

Grosovsky continued the complicated coordination work, which required many permits and discussions in order to transfer the deceased from the Hadassah hospital to Mount Zion. The burial ceremony and funeral were documented and the photographs were sent to the woman's children in Russia.

The woman's liver was transplanted in the body of a 55-year-old man at Hadassah. A 63-year-old man suffering from renal failure received a new kidney at Hadassah, and the other kidney was transplanted in a 62-year-old patient at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.
 French version/Version en langue française

Une touriste chrétienne Russe sauve la vie de 3 israéliens grâce à ses organes…

Publié le : 28 juin 2013
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Pour la première fois de l’histoire d’Israël, un touriste chrétien a fait don de ses organes à des Israéliens et a même été enterré en Israël. Grâce à son don, la vie de trois personnes ont été sauvées.
Il y a deux mois, lors d’un pèlerinage de Pâques sur lieux saints chrétiens d’Israël, une touriste russe de 61 ans a été victime d’une crise cardiaque. Elle a été transportée à l’hôpital Hadassah Ein Kerem de Jérusalem.
Capture d’écran 2013-06-28 à 16.55.10
Les médecins lutté mais quelques jours plus tard, ils ont été contraints son la déclaré sous état de mort cérébrale.
Le coordinateur des transplantations d’organes à Hadassah, Kyrill Grosovsky, a contacté les deux enfants adultes de la femme, en Russie, et après plusieurs conversations ils ont accepté de faire don des organes de leur mère. Comme elle était une fervente chrétienne, ses enfants lui ont demandé de créer une sépulture religieuse en Israël.
L’Eglise orthodoxe grecque n’a pas l’habitude enterrer les chrétiens qui ne sont pas résidents israéliens sur sa propriété sur le mont Sion, mais a accepté de donner à la femme un enterrement chrétien et une sépulture digne en Israël, grâce à son don d’organes, aux appels du Ministère de l’Intérieur et à l’Archevêque Aristarque, qui est secrétaire général du Patriarcat grec-orthodoxe de Jérusalem.

La cérémonie s’est déroulée en deux langues, l’hébreu et le russe, par le représentant de l’Eglise, le Père Alexander. Une couronne de fleurs a été posée au nom de l’hôpital Hadassah, et une autre au nom de l’agence de voyage qui a transporté la touriste en Israël.
Grosovsky a poursuivi le travail de coordination complexe, qui nécessitait de nombreux permis et des discussions en vue de transférer la personne décédée à l’hôpital Hadassah vers le Mont Sion. La cérémonie d’enterrement et des funérailles a été documenté et les photos ont été envoyées à ses enfants.
Le foie de la femme a été transplanté dans le corps d’un homme de 55 ans. A 63 ans, un homme souffrant d’une insuffisance rénale a reçu un nouveau rein à Hadassah, et l’autre rein a été transplanté chez un patient de 62 ans au Centre Médical Rabin de Petah Tikva.
Trois vies de sauvées.
Par Elinor Cohen-Aouat – JSSNews

Friday, June 21, 2013

Memorizing the past for the future

The Eastern Orthodox Church and, generally speaking, most of the Oriental and Ancient Churches of the East, have retained the old tradition of the Jews to recall, memorize, actualize the memory, commemorate and remind the departed. This is called in Hebrew "Hazakarat neshamot - הזכרת נשמות ''. The day is always the "Shabbat or saturday", because on that day God "stopped the work of creation "He had created and done by still doing", a difficult phrase to translate Hebrew "asher assah le'assot/אשר עשה לעשות ". Because, the Shabbat is never the end, but the commencement, not the deadpoint or line, but the point of beginning. We do understand this when the week is over and we may rest so far it is possible. It is far more difficult to accept and understand when we have to be separated, we death and quitting, passing away and over, crossing the eternal borders and barriers of what we see of this present world leads us to something else, unknown to us, not a part of our experience. No afterlife experience can witness for what real death and long separation means for the human and humane nature.

The Jews memorize the events of life and take them to a special experience: neshamot/נשמות are these "souls", that left the envelop of the body were they had lived and we do believe and trust in God, with a perfect faith and because of His confidence in our lives, that He will take them all in His realm, shelter them for always, reinvigorate and revive them in their bodies and safeguard them as whole bodies and flesh for the world-to-come.

This is the huge and immense challenge of faith. Some people, so many people would prefer to doubt. They are often driven to distrust because of many human realities: human suffering, handicaps, disabled people, both mentally and physically, evident lack of human psychological and physical, intellectual and imbalanced capacities lead to consider all "defects" as being without any possibility to be "repaired". Life burdens, unbelievable situation inside of human societies, mack of equality, treatment, care, absence of respect, the progressive degradation of a body, of brain and reflection capacities, disabilities in memory, speech, sight, walking - accidents of all kind, all this linked to loneliless and despair, leads to more absence of faith and trust in Divine Providence.

The Hebrew man is the one who crosses the realm of non-being into being and then being to become into a reality that cannot be seen. It is the rich meaning of the root "ivri/עברי '' the "one who goes beyond", in Hebrew on a permanent "birthing-ibbur-עיבור ''. Intriguingly, this move cannot be reall fathomed and caught together and we still only see things as in a mirror, as Paul of Tarsus said. Ivri/עורי '', spelled with a "connective vav" still means "blind" in Hebrew, as if a society cannot truly imagine the final direction it follows in so unclear and still fascinating routes.

We are all born to quit each other, by generation, by age, sometimes we spend more time together, at times time is shortened or compacted. It happens that some people live in a few years more than others would experience in decades of existence. and yet, too difficult to understand. I always say the people I meet to enjoy to the full the great gift we have to meet and being together in all the possible ways offered to each generation. In Jerusalem, I meet people for a few minutes, hours, some days and it seems over - for a decade, five years, one year, more or less, for always. suddenly, after ten or more years a person calls or shows or writes. But we did meet and this has no price. This isthe value of being humane, we say "mentschen" in Yiddish, a word that is almost "liquid", makes that our hearts and minds can "melt" because all of a sudden, we do approach a reality that we are given for something that overcomes and surpasses all possible values, except the deep respect for who each person is.

Some people experience that the people who are to die as we all are to die, pass away or repose and do not quit us. We need to cry, to show tears. In the Middle-East and some cultures, we sob, cry, yell. it is almost "professional". But the "departed" cannot sob or weep. We have to show our mourning.

We can do so because we have a speech. as humans memory relies upon our abilities to say that somebody, a person who did exist and we know the person came to this world, then grew up, became an adult or more and then declined and passed over. A name, sometimes different names. We can do this because of our capacity to name objects and persons and to recall them, include them in a calendar, a time schedule in expansion.

There is definitely some (just/unjust? who can tell) imbalance, disequilibrium among the living. We do not know about the departed. We cannot know about those whose are still to be born as said in Talmud Sukka 62b: messainic and prophetic developments that leave us, humans, speechless, and still, the language is at the core of our conscience, awareness and often of our suffering.

The Roman Orthodox Church of Jerusalem arrives at the feast of Pentecost this Sunday, Monday and next week the Church enters the time of "the Holy spirit", the same who was "surfing and flying like an eagle over the waters/ורוח אלהים מרחפת על-פני המים '' (Geneis/Bereishit 1:2). On the feast of Pascha - resurrrection of the Lord, the Orthodox Church reeads the portion where the Lord comes to the disciples and he said that he pours upon him the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The same happens on the feast of Shavuot (Giving of the Written and Oral Laws). The "unspoken speech" of the "Ghost", diving in the air as through the world as a dove comes and nurtures, nourishes each of us. The Church or say the Great Assembly of the faithful is the reality of the living and dead from the very beginning of the world till the world-to-come. This is difficult t oimagine, to accept, understand. It is a slow experience that may develop in our personal and collective lives. It is a gift. It is often the anticipation that we are never left aside and that dolorism is not the final path.

This is why we have to keep being humane, warm to all we meet. Even if they do not understand why we can be warm and enjoy their presence.

This is also why the Qaddish Yatom/קדיש יתום או צידוק הדין , as all the forms of Qaddish that exist in the Jewish tradition, do not speak of death, mourning, sobbing but of life, comfort, joy, pardon, care, health and hope, presence from high and unity of all.

The same is valid for the Church: life compassionate and patient and try to get to the core of the values of our days as of those days the others have, close or foreign to us, friends or enemies.

We are in the time of the Pentecost, the time of the Spirit. May we be one in this hope and silent hug and kiss given from Above to all.

av aleksandr (Shabbat of the souls - Πσθχωσαββατο Родительная Суббота - הזכרת נשמות תשע''ג\2013 ).

Monday, June 17, 2013

The First Breach Into The Walls Of Jerusalem, Tammuz 9th


Times and delays and on Tammuz 9th (June 17-June 4, Julian cal.), Judaism reminds as a living memorial, memory that is present, actual, not over and casts forward forth into the future as a part of redemtion and repair, well, on this day, the walls of Jerusalem were firstly breached and the troups marched in - The Mesopotamian Empire came in and deported in the end the Jewish nation, destroying "the living Body" that the Mikdash\מקדש - Beyt\בית - (Temple) is. Jerusalem is unique: walls as humans are "alive\הבית היה קים", breathing, inhabited, shelter and treasure of the Divine Presence, soul, respiration, mind, brains, speech, connectedness". In a way that is so special and made of hardships, bodies and walls have been killed. and yet, faith proclaims that the coming of the Presence is constant here and for the sake of all the humans. oth present and absent, with a breach that starts and then time makes no sense: zikkaron\זיכרון in Hebrew is a living memory, not the memory of the past, but the profound reality of who we are and have always been for each of us and throughout all generations (Talmud Sukka 52a-b). It anticipates something that goes beyond what we think or can fathom: initial imprint that is kept alive and lit for a purpose that lives and ages try to apprehend.Intriguingly enough, this period, in the North Hemisphere and our area, the Land Of Israel as mentioned in the Scriptures, is at the heart where the Jerusalem wall breach and the Ascension of the Lord Jesus basically correspond not, for the sake of cutting, separating but unifying and reconciling. This is why this picture shows such a view of Jerusalem, between the "dusks, evenings", leading and expecting more light. This "breath" that is also the Spirit reinvigorates and renews what is both old and new. This is why "zachar\זכר = to remember, commemorate, memorize, recall, reactualize in a way that is difficult to translate" and also after a root-shift "zachar\זכר = masculine, seminal, "spermatic" as in Greek "spermata\σπερμάτα = generations" that defines the role and function of males with and along with womanhood. Time seems then to be "Eucharistically" gathered together in a Presence that overlaps time and space and still obliges us to be real, substantial. The killing-death-"absence=kenosis"-rising-ascending of Jesus of Nazareth corresponds to the living act brought into the walls of the "living body and soul of the prophetic Presence" of the Most High in the House of Jerusalem. The Divine Liturgy approaches each human in a way that summarizes, accomplishes, achieves and still strive us ahead of who and what we all are, only known in mirror of history but longing to far more.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"Chukkat : is it rational?"

Shall they go "marchin' in"? Or not? Maybe? Early evening event of a night of summer equinox, equity deals this week in Jerusalem, with the gay and lesbian pride or parade or demonstration, for others, provocation. Our one-sex society makes males a bit too feminine and females a bit too masculine or "butch". It removes or adds hair of any color, waxing up skins, making-up faces, or reduces any difference in clothing, mostly pants here, in particular jeans and daily comfortable dress. 

Unisex is forbidden by the Jewish tradition and a woman should clearly be dressed or look different from a man, and vice versa. This is far from being obvious when you walk through the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, but any Israeli city or village. People want to be trendy, feel comfy, at ease, hedinistic because the system is consumaristic.

We can compare with any city in this country or even abroad, but there seems to be a problem with Jerusalem. The problem dealt with “Sanctity”. True, the city is pious and has a lot of very religious  inhabitants or passers-by, tourists, pilgrims of all faiths and creeds . Some long hair male can be terribly effeminate, considering the fact that they might spend hours in combing their hair. Some yeshive bechurim/ישיבה-בחורים or students would automatically curl their  peyses/pe'ot\פאות (hair locks) with their index in a way that is "between" malehood and feminity: some ambiguous and equivocal swing of the hips.

But the walk/gang (''גאנג ביידיש, הליכה'' בעברית) has a spiritual meaning. The same shows in traditional Churches where celibacy has been a rule for centuries. Curiously, Oriental nuns would retain a strong sense of womanhood while men often tend to some sort of effeminate behavior, just as shown at the present in all western societies.

The combat for equality and pre-supposed equal rights has developed and continues to evolve in some sort of "androgynous" character that is rather pregnant in our generation. It is difficult to frankly distinguish some attitudes that swing between male and female acquired tendencies and the trends of daily new objects or products of consumption. With regards to the gay and lesbian pride, there is,by definition, a ban that blinds our awareness and even alertness. One can regret the absence of  real  and serious theological arguments that might not be even understood or accepted by those whoever they can be who protest against their pride. 

Is it a parade or a provocation? We could also think in terms of a “farce”, a way to play the jester that curves up and down sexes and confuses them. Many things can be said or uttered in a society, especially true words when they are expressed in a jester's way as the clown could call to the king and mock him without being punished. Religions have too often played with the sex of the angels among the humans, or they have denaturized human beings and imposed illegal postures and situations. I always keep in mind that gays and lesbians were deported as such to the extermination camps and used as playmates by masochist gangsters. In Israel, we have tragic, definitely pathetic life paths that made Jews, half-jews, supposed and fake jews the playmates of sado-masochist individuals and gangs in the whole of Europe. In that sense, the play that is "offered or presented" each year from Tel aviv to Jerusalem, also down to Eilat is somehow a pagan demonstration of a society driven to hedonism. it is also the syndrome of a specific Israeli and Jewish society that has experienced in its flesh and soul the terrible aches, pains and torture of exterminimation. We should not only reflect in terms of traditional theological or moral parameters here: the E(xtra) Terrestr(al) people th Jews are as signs of the Divine Presence became a full mockery of their human and physical dignity during the period of the Shoah.

These "problematics" are absolutely not taken into account or even mentioned by all those that report, account, define, describe after their own opinion or considerations the situation that is going on here at the present. There is, in particular because of the tragic event of the murder at the Bar HaNoar, a profound interrogation: GLBT individuals and "lobbying actors" or so-called group, could hope for a recognition that is quite impossible according to the religions in the country. On the other hand, they could really feel a desire to avoid all forms of suffering, because of a past that turns to some nostalgia, a spleen that today changes into a societal tendency with backgrounds and memories.

Some Hareidim are effeminated in their "walking". It has always been known. it is not a process of feminization. it is a normal way that always existed inside of the Jewish relation to human nature. It "unites without really encompassing malehood and womanhood in manners that still mmaintain the differences and obligation  for both sexes to meet and cope adequately. The Hareidim were not involved in the murder at Tel aviv, four years ago. It was not an anti-GLBT protest. It was an internal battle, made of turpides, temptations, drugs, addicted to all sorts of deviances. it offers the vision of more ghettos excluding individuals and not the quest for purity and righteous rights.

This week, the reading portion from the TaNaKh is “Chukkat\חוקת = this is the ritual, non-rational commandment” in Bemidbar/Numbers 19:1- 22:1. To begin with, the reading portion deals with the red cow or “parah adumah\פרה אדומה – red heifer” that was bred and then slaughtered mixed with cedar tree branches, hyssop and crimson stuff (scarlet); its ashes were mixed in a huge cistern whose waters were precisely handled by young children who had never been in contact with death. 

We do have our own way to separate young males from any danger of corruption. Judaism can be obsessed by any kind of sin, i.e. corruptibility through the contact with death. Now, this commandment regarding the red heifer has no rational basis or explanation. Contrary to all usual commandments that are explained by the rabbis in the Gemara, it is absent from any commentary. The Mishna does include a very small Treatise Parah/פרה (Cow, heifer) as a part of the larger tractate Taharot\טהרות (purifications). It is evident that there is no rational basis to the fact that if some black hair would be found on this very sacrificial and penitential cow, she would become non-kosher. This tracks back to no  explainable law. One, two black hairs and the cow could not be slaughtered to produce the ashes that could save the people from their sins.

This week, we face in the reading portion the problem of how waters spring out  to be drunk by the congregation and their beasts. Then we read how anomalies can turn to save the sinful. In terms of biology, it is not normal and natural to get a “parah adumah\פרה אדומה – a red heifer”. The animal is a rarity and in some way a reverse of natural cow colors. 

Cows are cows: we love them in this country. Black and white, they are sweet milking beasts. Brown cows in some areas and other countries. Many restaurants show ensigns in shape of a red heifer. But the red cow was not edible. It was meant to purify, was slaughtered at the top of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and its blood sprinkled out in the direction of the West, i.e. to the world and the Temple. It is said in tractate Parah 2,1 that only eight red heifers might have be slain from the time of Moses till the destruction of the Temple. Other Jewish traditions would consider there were nine of them. Thus, it is considered as a “chok\חוק = non-rational commandment/mitzvah\מצוה” that still has to be perpetually fulfilled, especially in regard with the Yom Kippur ritual of purity. Nobody can show any evidence as concerns the coherence of the commandment. It is the same chok that only has to be accepted and accomplished by faith and confidence (emunah shlemah\אמונה שלמה) as the Sha’atnez\שעטנז (Lev. 19:19), the prohibition to mix wool and linen, except, for instance, in the girdle the High Priest (Yevamot 4b-5b). It is a very important and pending question at the present because, the people should be purified in case of  building-up the Temple…

The principle of a “chok/chukka-חוק\חוקה” corresponds to this: “I will leave to my sons a due share (a fixed living)” (Erubin 54a). These laws without reason are engraved, drawn like circles in order to remind God’s will: “He ordered a mark to be put on his (Abraham’s) flesh” (Shabbat 137b). 

In these quotations, as in a general stand, “a chok” is full of meaningfulness in God’s eyes and His decrees are totally founded. In our society, it seems that we are at times in a situation of absence of any coherence, as if we were shapeless. There are also some trends to lead us to social or emotional lack of structural egos, destruction or lessening of consistency. Call it bozo for a while, there are times that lead people to reduce their reactions and spiritual forces. “Timtem\טימטם” means this kind of tendency as in ‘troubles obstruct the heart, making a man dull (Pessahim 42a). Thus, “sin blunts the understanding of human beings (Yoma 39a), “till man become a shapeless mass” (Hallah 1c). 

The example of the dough is often used because bread be “kneaded” in various shapes that may make sense or not, without reason. Yiddish and the Jewish folklore tradition have considered that “timtum\טימטום” are those without clear sexual orientation, not necessarily a condemnation of homosexuals as they can be today; they represent with the lesbians a growing identity group marketing group and target. The problem is rather a sort of grin at shapeless souls, which is indeed a lack of compassion. 

God convoked Moses and Aaron and told them to give water from the rock to let the congregation and their beasts drink a lot of water. Moses took his rod and addressed the “morim/rebels” to get copious water. Okay, he stuck the rock twice and not only once as usual. And God said to Moses and Aaron that because they, personally, did not obey to God’s Commandments, they will not lead the congregation into the given land!!! At this point, today, any normal guy in this country would immediately rush to the Supreme Court and make a scandal!! And they would cc/forward a note to the chief rabbinates, the members of the Knesset and eventually contact The Hague and Geneva, if not the numerous “heretics”. This is the usual way we behave at the present towards God but we hardly can notice that because we are framed both as actors and mirrors.

At the mey Merivah/Meribah waters\מי מריבה, the congregation did quarrel with the Lord as He affirmed His sanctity in and through them. Such a rebellion is not acceptable. God enough, so the rebels could die in the wilderness. We had seen that the “nassi: leader, ruler, head of the nation” will not be pardoned his sin like the other members of the congregation.. He must atone in a specific way in his quality of leader.

The chok\חוק seemingly extends as a law without reason that condemned Moses and Aaron not to enter the Land of Canaan. There is definitely no explanation in the Chumash\חומש (Five Books of Moses). In the reading portion of this week we only know about the death of Aaron. This would eventually be more understandable. The High priest shaped the golden calf to provide a deity to the congregation as Moses did not seem to come back from the mountain. He did commit the sin of idolatry. And now he apparently dies because of copious waters? After having served as priest all over the trip throughout the wilderness?

As for Moses who never quarreled with God. This is this interesting point. He also accepted God’s decisions. He would intercede for the others, never on his own behalf. Indeed, chokkim – laws without reason or rational basis- show that God naturally speaks to the heart of His servant and to those who do follow Him. It is an indisputable evidence.

This question has always been a terrible spiritual problem for the rabbinic leadership as for the leaders of all the Churches and Muslim guides. This is a horrible quest indeed for the monotheistic believers.

This Sunday 2013, the Eastern Orthodox Church of Jerusalem will commemorate the first Ecumenical Council and the role of the Fathers. It is also, incidentally, the Day in honor of the Fathers/Dads. There is a huge responsibility that appertains to men, malehood. They have the responsibility to acknowledge that God, according to the Bible and thus in a very realistic psychological and human way, had mercy upon the loneliness of males nd created women to g o"against the will of men, meet their will face to face" in a dialogue that includes the duty and commandment to give birth in a usual way. 

It is quite evident that the example of Sarah telling Abraham to go with her maid Hagar and give birth to her son (Sarah's) implies a large reflection over centuries and in the Talmud on the many possibilities that life would never exclude to give birth and life to children and raise them accordingly. "Assisted pro-creation, in vitro, in vivo processes" and all sorts of other tools and practices have beeen described in the Talmud as a consequence of the Biblical commandments and their modus operandi. 

On the other hand, "spiritual fatherhood" is the privilege of all fathers, dads. It means they have to accomplish a task that is never known to them in advance. I have always been very cautious with the so-called "spiritual guidance of the spiritual guide or "father/priest, monk or others". Insightful perceptions do exist. The Holy spirit is shared by all creatures that have a breath into their nostrils (Jewish prayer of Rosh Hashanah). The Holy Spirit allows to say "Abba, not "father", but "daddy" (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6), even to God Himself" as jesus taught his disciples (Matthew 6:4-6, inter alia). To my knowledge - I maybe wrong - only Yiddish and Haitian Creole would pray to the Lord Father by addressing to Him as "Tatyenu/טאטיענו '' (often the translations prefer "Foter/פאטער '' for Yiddish and "Papa Nou" for the Haitian Creole version systematically.

Spiritual guidance is precisely difficult because it must take into consideration this "irrationality" of life paths along with some Divine Commandments that are not easy to understand or to cope with.  

We need men of conscience. It is not a matter of politics. Not even of morals and ethics. It is beyond that, an attitude that is so evident that is implemented as a commandment that does not appeal to understanding or judgment. Yes, people have the right to err. And they are free to do whatever would not harm or restrict their true own freedom. But as regards societal errors, the leadership – whenever religious or governmental – mostly lacks the close intimacy that existed between God and His obedient servants Moses and Aaron.

“We have reached the stage of being led by people without any self-respect, leaders who attempt to save themselves at the expense of the sins, omissions and errors made by those under them, who acted under their leadership. This is unlike the faithful shepherd that the Jewish people had, who, when the people died as a result of their sins, died with them, even though there was no sin on his part”, wrote Rav Yehoshua Leibowitz , in 1986 (Yoke of heaven, p. 148). It was courageous. Curiously, he then wrote a sort of Jewish and somehow Christian-like statement about Moses.

Av Aleksandr (Archpriest Alexander Winogradsky-Frenkel)