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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Should you stay in Edmonton or move to Toronto?

Daf Yomi Yevamos 81

Avril and Chad were debating whether they should move out of Edmonton.  On the one hand, clearly Toronto would be a better choice in terms of access to Jewish amenities – more Torah classes, better availability of kosher food and a good Torah-observant environment.  On the other hand, the Almighty placed them in Edmonton.  Perhaps their mission on earth was to be a shining example of Jewish commitment to our brothers and sisters outside the centres of Torah?

“Rabbi, should we stay or should we go?”

The Beraisa taught: An impure piece of sacrificial meat that was mixed up in a hundred pieces of pure pieces or an impure piece of showbread that was mixed up in a hundred pieces of pure showbread is nullified.  Rabbi Judah says it is not nullified.  However, a pure piece of sacrificial meat that was mixed up in a hundred pieces of pure non-sacrificial meat, or a piece of pure showbread that was mixed up in a hundred pieces of pure regular bread, all agree does not become nullified.   

Rashi explains that there is no need to nullify, because we can simply sell the mixture to a cohen (priest) who may partake of both the sacrificial meat or bread and the regular meat or bread, as opposed to the first case, where without nullification, we would be forced to destroy the entire mixture.

Where you choose to live and with whom you choose to associate depends on how strong you feel in your commitment to Judaism.   In the first case, we have a piece of impure meat that gets mixed up in amongst pure meat and ends up being nullified according to the primary opinion in the Beraisa.  If you’re not very strong in your Judaism, then you’re better off living in a very Jewish environment where you will go with the flow and be swept up in the spiritual fervor. 

In the second scenario, the one pure piece doesn’t become nullified.  Instead, it elevates the entire mixture to necessitate priestly consumption!  In other words, if you are strong in your commitment to Judaism, then you have the ability to elevate those around you with your positive spiritual impact.  If that’s the case, then why would you want to become just another number in Toronto?  Stay in Edmonton and make a spiritual difference!

Each person knows where they’re at spiritually and what they’re capable of accomplishing. If you are not confident in the strength of your commitment, then you need to make that big move to a spiritually healthier environment.  But if you are confident in your own spirituality, you must utilize every opportunity to impact those around you!  May you have the fortitude to be honest with yourself as to what is best for you and your family, and may you always merit being a source of spiritual strength to yourself, your family, your friends and acquaintances!

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