The Nilveh Imperative
Jewish meditation is different from all other meditations in that it is essentially Jewish. And it also different from all other aspects of Judaism in that it is meditative. Can you see any of the Serious Six meditating? I think not. Why not? Because Jewish meditation causes a person to step out of line and search for G-d. Think Manischewitz Tam Tams. Is there any food more Jewish than Manischewitz Tam Tams? You can pop them as spiritual steroid pills. Jewish meditation is also spiritual steroids, but on a higher level. Just like the rabbis are nervous about Ger because it shakes the Tree, Jewish meditation also makes them nervous because it rocks the boat. Let’s face it. There is a place in the Torah for Ger, but there is no place in Judaism for Ger. Same thing with Jewish meditation. We know Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were meditators. Moses was a meditator. David was a meditator. But of all the tens of thousands of Chachamim, only one is known as a meditator, Chanina ben Dosa. Why? Because rabbis are not meditators. Rabbis are judges. Judges learn what other judges think. Meditators think for themselves.
Speaking of thinking for ourselves: now that the Serious Six are out of the way, it is time to begin part two of the saga of Ger.
Ger expands the Mesora, the Oral Tradition, to include Shem the son of Noah, in whose tents, the Shechina dwells (Gen. 9:27). But now, we have to escort Shem to Mount Sinai and make him Jewish. That does not mean conversion al pi halacha. Of course, it can mean conversion al pi halacha, but it can also mean becoming a Nilveh, a companion of Israel within a Torah observant context. In a secular environment, Nilveh does not work, although it might appear to. G-d fearing Jews and Nilveh will not intermarry, so it works. Secular Jews and secular goyim will intermarry so it does not work. Nilveh works only in a spiritually pure, enlightened environment. Sadly, this means avoiding great swaths of goyim and, even sadlier, this means avoiding great swaths of Jews as well. (I know there is no such word as ‘sadlier,’ but it seemed to fit.)
Like the Levite is G-d’s chosen among G-d’s chosen, the Nilveh is G-d’s chosen among G-d’s chosen of the family of man. Levi and Nilveh come from the same root word, meaning to accompany. The Nilveh and the Jews, particularly the Levites, are haimish with each other, haimish is Yiddish for “down home.
But a Levite, in times of the Temple, would enter the house of a Nilveh only in the third generation. The house could be totally pure and holy for the Nilveh, but spiritually damaging for the Levite, particularly a Cohen.
I will give you a moshol. In the Bet Hamikdash, the holy garments of the Cohanim have a higher level of purity than any other clothing, and if a 100% halachically pure, but mundane garment should touch a Cohen’s holy garments, it renders them spiritually impure and they must be discarded. Mundane garments, even if pure, will defile holy garments.
There are exceptions. The house of Vendyl Jones is an exception. Anita Jones should have a refuah shalaimah. And while we are at it, Ariela Clorfene, my wife, needs a refuah shalaimah, too. She had hernia surgery yesterday and believe it or not, I am still around. She took it in a breeze and it was a very, very hard for me. Not just because of the surgery. I had confidence in the surgeon and the hospital, both top notch by any standards, but, first of all, it is a hospital. Not a good place to be except to do the great mitzvah of bikkur cholim, visiting the sick. Second of all, it is in Tel Aviv, also not a good place to be except when absolutely necessary. That is what got me. Not the surgery, but Tel Aviv. Ariela was obviously too pre-occupied to notice it as I did. Tel Aviv should be called Tell and Leave. It is not a good place. It might be the most creative city in the world and it might have more shuls than Jerusalem, but I live in Tzfat and I know what the makifim are like where it is holy. And the makifim in Tel Aviv are vibrant, but not holy. And what can be spiritually worse than hot and vibrant tumah? But as Resh Lakish once said in a fit of pique, “Everybody loves their city. Do not disparage another’s city.” Be that as it may, if I had loved ones living in Tel Aviv (which I do), I would beg them to move. It can even be close, but get out of town. Even eighteen minutes away. Kfar Saba is nice. So is Petach Tikva. The whole problem reminds me of what Billy Graham’s wife is reputed to have said, “If G-d does not destroy San Francisco, He owes an apology to Sodom and Gemorrah.” Those are harsh words and absolutely wrong, but she got the point across. The Tractate of Sukkah ends with the words, “Woe to the wicked and woe to his neighbor.” The wicked according to the Torah are idolaters, murderers, and sexual deviants. Kinky will destroy any society. That is why Egypt, Persia, Greek, Rome and now America is going by the wayside and Israel remains. And I hope I am wrong in this, but it appears to me that Russia today is more righteous according to the Torah than America. That is a terrifying thought. And the real reason the Jewish people continue and thrive when so many other greater empires have fallen is that enough Jews adhere to the Torah’s standard of tzniut (carnal refinement) to perpetuate the Jewish people. That is because the Jews have the Torah, and particularly the Kabbalah, and for no other reason.
The good news is that the Nilveh also has the Torah. And as mentioned above, Nilveh and Levite come from the same Hebrew root. Who is the Nilveh? The Nilveh is one with the Ger in the gate. The Ger Toshav is on a much lower level spiritually. The Ger Toshav does not believe it G-d. I do not understand why so many religious Jews and rabbis do not get no-brainer simple truth. The Ger Toshav is a conquered people, literally, forced to accept the Seven Laws of Noah on pain of death. The Ger in the gate has a relationship of mutual kindness and respect, and they go together to the Bet HaMikdash to hear the king from the House of David read the Torah. Does that sound like somebody upon whose neck is a boot? No. This is what I have harping about…the Ger, the Ger in the gate, and the Nilveh are one, but the Ger Toshav is a different briah (creation). He is a subjugated people, conquered in war and given an ultimatum, keep the Seven Laws of Noah and pay tribute to Israel, or die. That is the Ger Toshav. But that is not the Ger. That is not the Ger in the gate. And that is not the Nilveh. The Nilveh and the Ger Toshav may both be gentiles, but they are not the same people. May the Merciful One open the eyes of the wise who do not get this (the lacking goes back to Sura and Pumpeditha, and the Jewish study halls of Babylon). And that is judging them l’chaf zechut, on the side of merit. Shabbat shalom.