web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

A Diamond With A Flaw

The-Shmuz

You shall place both stones on the shoulder straps of the ephod, remembrance stones for the Children of Israel.” – Shemos 28:12

 

Moshe was commanded to make garments for the kohanim. Included in these was the ephod, a piece of clothing similar to an apron, with two shoulder straps on top holding the avnei shoham, gold settings that contained precious stones. Hashem told Moshe to engrave the names of the twelve shevatim (tribes) onto these stones as a remembrance. Rashi explains that this was so that the memory of Reuven, Shimon, Levi, etc. would be invoked when the kohen gadol did the avodah, and Hashem would then remember their righteousness.

This Rashi seems to be difficult to understand. The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it. As a result, there are many items that are avoided in the avodah so as not to bring up even the faintest memories of sin. While there is no question the namesakes of the shevatim were men of extraordinary greatness, that greatness was also tainted with the sin of selling their brother. Didn’t that sin permanently affect who they were? Shouldn’t that be reason enough not to mention their names in such a critical situation?

The answer to this is based on an issue of perspective.

Imagine there are two large diamonds in front of you, one a beautifully cut jewel with a minor flaw, the other the same as the first, but flawless – a perfect diamond. If we were to ask a diamond expert to appraise the two, there is no doubt that he would tell us the difference between them is huge. He would say the diamond with the minor flaw is worth a fortune while the completely flawless diamond is almost worthless — because it is a fake. One of the signs a diamond is real is that it has a flaw. While it may be a very minor imperfection and almost unnoticeable, all genuine diamonds have flaws. The only perfect diamonds are made of cubic zirconium, and are costume jewelry.

Hashem Created Us Knowing We Would Sin

When Hashem formed man, it was not for him to be perfect. Perfection rests in the realm of the malachim (angels). A malach will spend its entire existence without sin. Malachim are perfect. But malachim aren’t men. Man and man alone was given the unique opportunity in all of creation – to determine his destiny, either becoming the greatest of all or sinking below the animals.

To allow man to create who he would be for eternity, Hashem gave him free will. However, free will doesn’t mean the theoretical ability to choose; it means being put into situations where either choice is viable and either option is real. Man has to be challenged. To allow for that, man has to be tempted to choose either good or bad and be given the ability to make mistakes. Every man will make mistakes. Some are large and some are small, but the idea of man living without sin isn’t part of the picture.

The answer to the question on Rashi seems to be that the shevatim were in fact men of unimaginable greatness, but they also had flaws and sinned. Each would be compared to a 200-carat diamond – with an imperfection. They were huge, beautiful diamonds, with flaws.

When viewing a diamond, you don’t see the flaw. To perceive it, you need to look through a jeweler’s loop that magnifies the stone by a power of ten times or more. Only via direct scrutiny does the flaw become noticeable. It is always present, but the eye doesn’t see it. All the eye sees is glimmer and reflected light in an object of extreme beauty.

What will I be like in Olam Habbah?

This concept has great relevance to us. People often wonder, “What will it be like for me in the World to Come? I’ve done many good things in my life, but I’m no tzaddik. I’ve also done plenty wrong, and I can’t even say I did teshuvah for everything.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Diamond With A Flaw”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ilana Medar, 18, of Paris, made Aliyah last year.
Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

Three years of war and the loss of one-tenth of Britain’s men is not too great a price to pay.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

The-Shmuz

It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

When Hashem made man, He created two worlds – this world and the World to Come. Each has its purpose.

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

If a man owns a successful small business, he might do a million dollars a year in sales. But that is the gross revenue, not the amount he takes home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/a-diamond-with-a-flaw-2/2014/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: