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A Modern Orthodox Synagogue

Covenantal Relationship

Dear Friend,

I hope this message finds you well.

As we enter the month of April together, I want to look at a pasuk in the Torah that we will be reading this calendar month.

As part of our yearly cycle of Torah readings, we will be reading the parashiyot of Shemini, Tazria, Metzora, Acharei Mot, and Kedoshim this month.

In Parashat Kedoshim we read the following prohibition: "Do not turn aside to false gods, and do not make yourselves gods out of cast metal.  I am God your Lord (Leviticus 19:4)."

Why is the Torah so opposed to fashioning "gods out of cast metal"?

The essence of the Jewish faith is the idea of "brit", covenant.  We are in a covenantal relationship with the Almighty.  No one wants to be in a relationship with a heap of metal.  The essence of a relationship is constant striving, constant action and reaction, constant improvement as we work to better our standing in relation to the other party with whom we share our relationship.

Our relationship with the Almighty behooves us to constantly strive to better ourselves and better our relationship with Him, with the expectation that He will respond in kind.  While the prophet tells us that the Almighty does not change, that statement merely means to say that the Almighty's attributes and His statutes cannot be altered.  It does not mean to say that he is not a god of Divine pathos, whose brit-covenant obligates Him to respond in kind to our good deeds and supplications, just as we must constantly work to be in response to Him.

This covenantal relationship, of us humans being obliged to constantly strive and grow, and never see ourselves as being locked into place and unable to progress, is only viable with a Living God.  An inanimate chunk of silver or gold can only be an absurd and cheap substitute The eternal covenant that exists between the Creator and His nation obligates us in a lifetime of constant davening, communing with Him, and seeking to better ourselves as being locked into place and unable to progress, is only viable with a Living God.  An inanimate chunk of silver or gold can only be an absurd and cheap substitute The eternal covenant that exists between the Creator and His nation obligates us in a lifetime of constant davening, communing with Him, and seeking to better ourselves in the ways of kedusha, holiness.  If we achieve this goal, then the Living God will certainly respond in kind.  Indeed, this in essence is the message of the entire Parashat Kedoshim.

Wishing you a wonderful month,

Rabbi Peretz Robinson