22 Av 5780 / Wednesday, August 12, 2020 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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Acharei Mot: Hashem Takes Pride in Every Jew    

Acharei Mot: Hashem Takes Pride in Every Jew

The task of the "designated man" is tremendously important, namely, to lead the scapegoat to the desert. The entire...


"In the hand of a designated man to the desert" (Vayikra 16:21).
The task of the "designated man" is tremendously important, namely, to lead the scapegoat to the desert. The entire atonement of the people of Israel is dependant on the "designated man" doing his job properly. Yet, the designated man is an unsung hero, a simple Jew, and not necessarily a Cohen. There is no record anywhere in Jewish historical or holy texts of a scapegoat escaping from the designated man, or of a designated man not doing his job properly.
The designated man is symbolic of every single anonymous Jew. If the Jewish people resemble a body, then each individual Jew is a vital organ. The Jewish people are also compared to a Torah scroll; although a Torah scroll contains several hundred thousand letters, one missing, incorrect, or illegible letter renders the entire Torah scroll unfit to make a blessing on. Similiarly, whenever someone finds fault in a Jew, he or she blemishes the image of the entire Jewish people.
Some people limit their respect to those of aristocratic backgrounds, the privileged, or the powerful. The Torah contrastingly states that we should love every Jew as we love ourselves. As in the aforementioned example of the Torah scroll, each Jew – no matter how seemingly unimportant – plays a significant roll in the overall functioning of the Jewish people. One may ask, how can a simple shoemaker or plumber be as important as a great tzaddik or Rosh Yeshiva? Simply, the Rosh Yeshiva isn't allowed to learn Torah within range of a foul odor; so, if his drain or bathroom is clogged, he won't be able to open his Gemorra without the services of a good plumber. And without the shoemaker, the Rosh Yeshiva would be barefoot!
The "designated man" literally translated from the biblical Hebrew is the "timely man" – ish itti. This is a further allusion from the Torah that each Jew not only has his or her special task, but wherever Hashem places them, they are the right person at the right time, as we shall see in the following parable:
The Benevolent Kingdom was locked in a long and bloody war with the Kingdom of Evil. The peace-loving Benevolents had suffered irreplaceable losses on all fronts; fighting was not their forte, yet the Evil aggressors left them no choice. The Benevolent King decided to tour the battlefield first hand and to consult with his officers in the field.
Word that the Benevolent King was somewhere near the front lines spread like wild fire among the beleaguered Benevolent combatants. A desperate counterattack had failed miserably, and the Benevolent officers were almost at the point of despair. Even the Generals lacked a plan…
Private Pushty was an insignificant foot soldier in one of the Benevolent infantry battalions. He overheard his commanders mumbling that the campaign was virtually lost, and that it's only a matter of days until the entire Benevolent front lines collapse. Pushty was born in the Evil Kingdom, and even resembled an Evil citizen. He knew how to speak the Evil language and how to appear completely Evil. He devised his own scheme…
In the black of a moonless midnight, Pushty crossed the enemy lines deep into Evil territory. Hiding by day and advancing at night, he reached the Capital City. With most of the Evil forces on the front, the palace was loosely guarded. Pushty penetrated the palace grounds unchallenged; in the wee hours, the sentries snored in a deep slumber. With a silent prayer on his lips, Pushty entered the King's chambers. In an instant, the Evil monarch breathed his last breath, never knowing what hit him.
When word reached the Evil front lines that a Benevolent bullet pierced the Evil king's brains, the morale of the Evil troops crumbled. A renewed Benevolent offensive led to complete triumph.
The most creative of imaginations cannot fathom the joy and gratification that the Benevolent King derived from his faithful and simple foot soldier, Private Pushty.
Just as the entire fate of the Benevolent nation rested on one simple soldier, our sages teach (Kiddushin 40b) that the deeds of a single Jew can make or break the entire world. As such, every Jew is a designated individual of paramount importance.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev emphasizes (Likutiei Moharan I:17) that Hashem takes indescribable pride in each individual Jew. Therefore, we should never ever sell ourselves or a fellow Jew short. By taking Hashem's example, and looking for the good in each Jew, we enhance brotherly love and rid ourselves of the infighting that led to the destruction of our holy temple, may it be rebuilt soon and within our time, amen.

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