04 May The Kohen Gadol and The Convert – Acharei – Kedoshim
|by Leib Getzel (Lawrence) Lax
inspired by the teaching of HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh and Rabbi Moshe Genuth
This week’s Parshas Acharei-Kedoshim speaks of the garments of the High Priest – Kohen Gadol and the garments he must wear to enter the Holy of Holies.
The purpose of the tikun of these garments is that as the Kohen Gadol comes close to Hashem in His Inner Chamber (His Bedroom) as a bride and groom , the Kohen Gadol must have acquired, hold and represent a level of purity to be able to receive Hashem’s powerful light and not die in the process of this intimate experience with the Almighty.
As it has also been repeated in parsha Acharei , Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aron in their zeal brought an unasked for aka foreign offering to Hashem . It is noted that they were compromised by having been intoxicated, and a law prohibiting intoxication was given accordingly. Although we learn from their actions to serve Hashem with great enthusiasm, we also are aware that there actions caused Hashem to take them on the spot.
Whether a Jew, non Jew or potential convert, we must be mindful in the pursuit of a closer relationship with Hashem to not add more light into a vessel that can cause the vessel to damage or break.
For the person converting, this means that they should have a Rabbi (and a teacher) that will guide them to acquiring a rectified connection to Hashem in a way that their vessel receives Hashem’s Light, the Light of Torah in a healthy and rectified way.
Communities receiving conversion candidates (ger candidates) should also be aware of what is and is not appropriate when it comes to the acceptable light (mitzvot, laws )to share with a person in who is a Jew, non Jew or authentic conversion candidate.
It might help us to know if one is sincere to convert;
To be a Jew, to learn Torah , and have Shabbos and Chagim is likened to having access and being in the Inner chamber of Hashem’s most intimate space, like a bride and groom. It can be shared in an appropriate way, but must also be guarded. Accordingly, we should speak to an Orthodox Rabbi to know what is and is not appropriate when reaching out.
Accepting a non-Jew into a Jewish community has many sensitivities for the Jewish Community and the Ger Candidate. It is important to know that in many cases the vessel or soul of a non Jew in transition to acquiring a righteous Jewish connection is going through a great transformation; body, mind and soul.
It is said that the Israelites survived the oppression of Egypt by maintaining three things; Names, Language and Garments. Deeper insight reveals that the garments they were wearing was the mitzvah prohibition of sexual immorality. While all of Egypt was sexually corrupt, the Israelites did not participate in this transgression.
As we learn from the Kohen Gadol and his garments as he enters the inner chamber with Hashem, we must learn that Torah and Mitzvot also create spiritual garments. We must aim to be well dressed in mitzvot to appropriately receive Hashem, and help our fellow accordingly.