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An Invisible Barrier

I. The family had been close with their local Cohanim for many years. They gave their Terumah to these Cohanim. They would always travel to Jerusalem when these Cohanim were on duty in the Beit Hamikdash. They turned to these Cohanim for spiritual guidance and advice. The bond seemed unbreakable. Then tragedy struck. One of their children died. Their friends couldn’t enter their home until the body had been removed. They stood outside waiting. The family stood at their window staring out at their friends, feeling as if an invisible barrier separated their dearest friends from them. The body was removed, and still the Cohanim stood at a distance from those who had become ritually impure. They followed the funeral procession, at a distance, until the gates of the local cemetery, and then stopped. They could not enter the burial grounds. They stood away, as close as possible, but still at a distance, and watched the funeral from outside the cemetery gates. They were “there” for their friends, but they were not. People who suffer, experience a particular sense of loneliness, but the invisible barrier that separated this family and their close friends, the Cohanim, intensified their sense of isolation. The family saw their friends constantly standing as close as possible, but always at a distance. They missed their friends. They were desperate for their spiritual guidance, but it was not to be during the darkest hours from the time of death until they returned from the funeral. II. The Cohanim had been particularly close with a family in their village. The family always presented their Terumah to these Cohanim who served as the spiritual guides to the family. They knew that whenever they went to Jerusalem to serve in the Beit Hamikdash, that this family would travel as well so that these Cohanim could guide them in making their offerings. The bond seemed unbreakable. Then, tragedy struck. The family lost a child. The Cohanim ran to the home to comfort their friends, but they could not enter as long as the corpse was in the building. They stood outside the living room window looking in, connecting with their eyes. They saw the pleading look in their friend’s faces, as if to say, “Please, we need you,” but they could not come any closer. The Cohanim watched as the funeral procession headed toward the cemetery. An invisible barrier stopped them from running to their friends and hugging them. They stopped outside the cemetery gates and watched as their closest friends buried a child. These Cohanim had shared intense issues with the family each time they brought the family’s offerings. They had discussed mistakes, gratitude for miracles, love of God, and countless spiritual struggles, but they could not hold their hands and guide them during those first horrible hours after the child’s death. III. The Shiva – Seven Days of Mourning – began in the cemetery. The entire community formed a procession to accompany the devastated family home. The Cohanim knew that they had to be unbelievably careful in dealing with anyone who was at the funeral or who had touched the corpse. They had Terumah in a special area of their home and they knew that they could not dare to become ritually impure and then eat the Terumah. It was a matter of life and death for them. It seemed as if the Cohanim were separated from the entire population of the village. They stood at a distance from people who opened their fields and silos to them every year, people who came to them with their first born sons, who gave them their first-born male cattle. These Cohanim were wrapped up in the life of the village, except on this horrible day. On this day, they were not “one of us.” IV. No one openly discussed the barrier, but everyone felt it. The painful feelings were palpable in the air when the Cohanim entered the Shiva home. The room became absolutely still and silent. The Cohanim sat down, and as is appropriate, waited for the mourners to speak first, but the father and mother did not know what to say. They understood that the Cohanim lived with very strict rules about ritual impurity; that their friends had no choice. But, they had experienced a separation beyond that of death. All were silent until one of the children sitting Shiva softly said in his innocence, “I now know what happens when we do Teshuva or bring an offering in the Beit Hamikdash. We feel a barrier separating us from God, when we sin. It’s as if we are looking toward Him through the window, pleading for a connection, but we cannot reach. It’s painful. Teshuva and offerings are the process of reconnecting. The separation was only temporary.” An older sibling, also sitting Shiva, commented,”Now I know what Cohanim really are: Life. They are separated from death. They reconnect only when we are back in life. The barrier that stood between us was not the Cohanim’s exalted status. It was the invisible barrier between life and death.” Author Info: Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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