Making The Physical Spiritual by Avi Wollman


There is a Midrash on this week’s Parsha that states that Rabbi Yehuda says that Hashem only reveals Himself to the nation of the world at night, as learned from the pesukim, “Hashem appeared to Avimelech in a dream at night...” and “Hashem came to Bilaam at night...” on the other hand, there is a Pasuk regarding Avraham Avinu that shows how Hashem reveals Himself to Bnei Yisrael during the daytime, which is, “And he sat at the gate of the tent, in the heat of the day...” However, what is the significance of the fact that Hashem appears to the nations of the world at night and Bnei Yisrael during the day?

The answer to this question, as Rabbi Frand notes, can be found in a theological difference between Bnei Yisrael and the Goyim. We, Jews, believe that the physical and the spiritual aspects of the world can be united together. Our view is that physical things can have Kedusha bestowed upon them. The Goyim, on the other hand, believe that these two ideas cannot be joined together. Their view is that there must be a separation between the physical and the spiritual. For example, Catholic priests are sworn to celibacy because it is there belief that in order to remain spiritual one must bar himself from the physical. Therefore, Hashem only appears to the Goyim at night when they are alone and separated from the rest of the world. Only then can they receive their spirituality. However, Hashem appears to Bnei Yisrael during the day, while they interact with the rest of the world. An important lesson to be taken from this is that we must stick to our ideals by always acting in a manner that represents a Kiddush Hashem and take our normal physical daily lives and make them Kadosh.

Tzei Ulemad by Rabbi Yosef Adler

Sacrificing Satisfactorily by Rabbi Jonathan Krimsky