Sunday, July 15, 2007

Two Tribes in Conflict

From the [18th century] Rabbi Mordechai Yosef of Ishbitz
(translated by Gershon Winkler)

[The Jewish people is comprised of] two tribes who are constantly in conflict with one another. The life objective of Ephraim, as inspired by the Creator, is to concentrate on the halachah regarding every matter, and not to budge from obeying its every letter... And the root of the life of Yehudah is to focus on the Creator and to be connected to the Creator in every situation. And even though Yehudah perceives how the halachah inclines on an issue, he nevertheless looks to the Creator to show him the core of the truth behind the matter at hand... [Yehudah] looks to the Creator for guidance in all matters rather than engage in the rote practice of religious observances, nor is he content to merely repeat today what he did yesterday...but that the Creator enlighten him anew each day as to what is the God Will in the moment. This sometimes compels Yehudah to act contrary to established halachah... But in the time to come, we have been promised that Ephraim and Yehudah will no longer be at odds with one another (Isaiah 11:13). This means that Ephraim will no longer have any complaints against Yehudah regarding his deviation from halachah, because the Creator will demonstrate to Ephraim the intention of Yehudah, that his intentions are for the sake of the Creator's will, and not for any selfish motive. Then will there be harmony between the two (Mei HaShiloach, Vol. 1, Vayeishev, 14b-15a).ยท