Monday, April 10, 2006

Mishchu y'deichem min avodah zarah

Mishcu u'kchu lachem tzon - Rashi explains "mishchu" was a command to seperate from avodah zarah. The Aish Kodesh asks: how could it be that through all the makkos and hisgalus Hashem Moshe had not told the people to abandon avodah zarah? How is it that there could still be a need for a tzivuy against avodah zarah at this point?I heard b'shem R' Chait (of Far Rockaway) that there is a difference between "AVODAh zarah", i.e. worship which is foreign worship, e.g. paganism, and "avodah ZARAH", worship of Hashem which is twisted to become strange and bizarre. A similar distinction lies at the root of the Aish Kodesh's explanation of Rashi. In the comment section of a different blog I had an interesting debate about "truth" and frames of reference. There is an inherent paradox to the entire command of belief in G-d and leaving a world of idolatry - to the believer, the command is redundant; to the skeptic, the command accomplishes nothing. If one does not already accept G-d, then a command in his name to accept him is meaningless. R' Tzadok haKohen (Tzidkas haTzadik #207) writes that for this reason "Anochi" is not stated as a command, but as a declarative sentence. You do not prove G-d's existance with commands or logic; you experience G-d's existance. A person is thrown overboard off a ship and miraculously is carried alive through the sea to shore. Afterwards, a comrade sits down with tidal maps and weather readings and tries to demonstrate that it is impossible for the event to have occurred. The entire story is absurd - logic cannot trump the reality of the experience. For a person standing "outside" the world of Torah and mitzvos, all the reasons in the world may not be sufficient to justify what we do. It is all so strange - an avodah ZARAH! But to the person who experiences it, all the logic in the world is unnecessary - it is part of who you are. "Mishchu yedeichem min avodah ZARAH" - don't look at things like an outsider, searching for the reason and logic, but accept the experience of yetziyas mitzrayim as proof in an of itself.