This morning I read with interest about the funeral arrangements for Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. The longtime archbishop of Paris, a confidant of late Pope John Paul II, asked that the Kadish be recited at his funeral in front of Notre Dame this morning. It is said that the Cardinal never rejected his Jewish identity. As a fourteen year old boy he hid in a convent in France while his mother died at Auschwitz.
Personally I never judge men and women that have endured the suffering of the Holocaust. ?Do not judge your fellow man until you have been in their place?. Thank G-d I have never been in their place.
Yet, I am overwhelmed with the thought of how we as Jews are capable of living with extreme contradictions. Anyone who understands Judaism and Catholicism understands that you can?t live both lives at once.
Not just the Jewish cardinal, but in fact all of us somehow manage to integrate contradictions into our lives. We violate that which we believe in, we act hateful towards those that we love, and we make decisions that we know are wrong.
This week?s parsha begins with the word ?Re?eh!? ?Behold!?
Toward the end of his life Moshe spoke to the Jewish people like a father to a son. He warned us of the pitfalls that would encounter as we enter our new home in Israel. He told us of the spiritual and physical temptations that would plague us.
This time Moshe was not telling us how to choose. In other parshiot he commanded us to ?choose life?. Rather, he implored us to see things correctly and clearly. Life is so confusing; the human mind and heart are very complicated and we our capable of seeing something that is in plain vision completely wrong. We can misjudge people, misinterpret situations, and mistake impurity for purity. Very often we can take a perfectly happy life and be sad over it. In general, man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Moshe taught us to sort things out carefully and see things for what they are. If you?re not careful, he taught, you can easily make the blessing a curse and the curse a blessing. It is from the clarity of vision that all blessing and curses enter our life.
This weeks Reaching was dedicated by my good friends Alan and Ruchie Sector, in honor of their daughter Meira Tova’s birthday. May Hashem bless this wonderful couple with continued clear vision and much nachas for many good years.