Saturday, February 16, 2013

We are Kaporet!

Rabbi Avi Baumol

Every vessel has one purpose; the menorah to light up, the Mizbeach for korbanot, the Shulchan for lechem, the Aron to house the luchot and the Kruvim to be the symbol around where the shechina speaks.

One vessel is a mystery: the Kaporet. What is its purpose? On the one hand it seems clear that it is a covering for the Aron; on the other hand it seems to be a base for the Kruvim. It is possible that it has two purposes? Which one takes preference?

Naftali Bennet has been courted by two distinct political parties; each one representing a segment of society, each one aiming to convince Bayit Yehudi that its natural home is with them. Shas and Yahadut Hatorah say, you are shomer mitzvot like us, believe in the supremacy of Torah, halakha, come join us and we will be strong. Yesh Atid says, you are Zionist, believe in the army, all encompassing to Jews, tolerant, women’s rights, economic policy and unity. Come join us and we will be strong.

What should Naftali Bennet do? As I am his constituent, I feel I may weigh in on his thought process.

The Rogotchover answers that while Kaporet may be seduced by the Aron into thinking that its purpose is to cover and protect the Aron which encases the Luchot (Torah existence) and it may be seduced by the more all-encompassing Kruvim who see God in all areas (Zionist existence), it is not an fifth wheel of either vessel; instead the Kaporet is its own unique entity. A vessel entirely of pure unadulterated gold which has it own unique purpose in the Mishkan.

What is that purpose? I propose it is a bridge. To at once be a cover for Torah and at the same time be a base for Israel. To function as a vital link between two worlds and to teach there is no contradiction between the two. One can cover and protect the Aron while acting as a base for the Kruvim. That is the essence of being in the middle. But not as a compromise to that which is beneath and that which is above; rather as a strong, confident proud vessel in the Mishkan, serving God in its unique capacity.

Mr. Bennet, be the Kaporet, teach the country about the beautiful synthesis that is a religious Zionist Jew in Israel. Stand firm in your ideals of preserving Torah and shining a light of responsibility to the land and people of Israel. Be the bridge letting both worlds access you and each other. And ultimately, teach the world what it means to embody the synthesis which is authentically Jewish, ‘tzu Gott un Tzu leit” to God and to the people, Torah and nation, land and Mitzvot, open and committed, lover of peace and protector of Zion!