Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Community is Pure!

Rav Hirsch zt”l explains that the korbanos express the elevation of our moral free will up to the Will of Hashem. The fact that the tum’as meis of an individual impedes his ability to offer a sacrifice is a function of his coming face-to-face with his own physical mortality. What sets the community as a whole apart is that the tzibbur never dies. The material bodies of its members may disappear in death, but their moral free will, their G-dly spirit, go on living together, united for eternity as the soul of the tzibbur that transcends generations. For this reason if most of the community is defiled they may bring their korban Pesach in impurity.
In a conversation with Professor Blumenthal, the head of the Ophthalmology Department at Assouta hospital, Rav Shach zt”l once said: “You should know, if a person is not observant, he lives for seventy or eighty years and dies like a beast. They stick him into the ground, and the worms devour his flesh. He, himself, becomes nothing more than a worm…”
The professor was perplexed. “I don’t follow you. Even an observant person eventually dies, is buried, and decays.”
Rav Shach smiled and gently reproved him. “No, no! Let me explain myself. You could compare this to a man who riding a donkey—the animal suddenly collapses beneath him and dies. What will the man do? He’ll get up off the animal and keep on going. The scavengers will come and devour the donkey’s body, but they have no interest in the man!”
“Don’t you understand? For us, the main thing is the soul. It acquires the merit of Torah and mitzvos while it travels in this world, and when the body dies, the soul gets up and continues on its journey to the next world, where it is rewarded. You, on the other hand, are only interested in the physical world of the body. When it breaks down and disintegrates, what will remain?”

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