Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pardon the blatant Pluralism

“…L’Gozair Yom Suf, le’gzarim – ki lay olam hasdo”.
(…Who Split the Sea of Reeds into parts, His kindness is eternal)

Pirkei Avot mentions that there were ten miracles performed for the Jewish People, and we learn elsewhere that there were 12 passages through the water for each tribe, divided by transparent walls. Parshat Beshelach ’05 of “Hamaayan” quotes R. Yosef Gruenwald;

“The Magen Avraham (O.C. ch. 68) quotes the Kabbalists who teach that there are twelve “gates” in Heaven, and each tribe’s prayer passes through a different gate [apart from our grasp of the gates as such?]. If each of us knew from which tribe he was descended, he would [halavi!] recite the nussach / version of the prayers that corresponded to his tribe and his gate. Perhaps, suggests R. Gruenwald, this is alluded to by the fact that each tribe has its own path through the sea and out of Egypt.
Nevertheless, R. Gruenwald cautions, we must remember that the walls between the paths were transparent. True, every person must stick to the path in the service of Hashem that is his particular tradition, but he must recognize that his is not the only legitimate path. There are other paths that lead to the same destination”.
(Haggadah Shel Pesach Va’yechi Yosef p.277)

I would note that passages as such were established by HKBH – mirroring the gates in Heaven - and the Temple; a plurality in the realm of spiritual completion, in the “Intervening Miracle” realm of Ratzon Hashem and in the temporal, historical sphere. Distinct ways in Torah (not mere trends or eccentricities – comprehensive ways) are not merely “tragic consequences” of Galut. Nor are they all divergences of leniencies, stringencies and tolerances occurring within one monolithic passage – they are a reflection of a plan HKBH has for Redemption. The transparency of the walls ensured then, as now (in our current astounding survival in Exile), that unless one is averting ones eyes from one of HKBH’s miracles…one cannot but see that there are other ways of being Saved aside from that which one is experiencing within the experience of ones own tribe – that such radical emphasis on Difference (spanning the spheres of Creation), is propounded by HKBH in the miracle He performs should maybe indicate something to us.


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