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Thought for the Day: Between Goy and Jew -- Ger

One of the earliest political cartoons I have seen was poking fun at the early evolution trials.  The cartoon has a group of well dressed gentlemen standing outside a court with an ape; a very, very unhappy (crying, actually) ape.  The caption is something like, "He just heard that Mr. Darwin claims that apes and humans are related and he finds that very insulting!"

I mentioned that the B'nei Yissachar says that HaShem created a transition between all extremes.  Among them: apes between man and beast; gerim between Jew and goy.  In the achievement tests, that could have been the key to filling the question, "ape is to human as _____ is to Jew".  I am not particularly insulted, as the apes have not produced any Hitlers or Lucrezia Borgias, after all.  Still, it leads one to ponder if there is a deeper connection than just another of my flat jokes.

Whenever Chazal discuss people coming to convert, it refers to them as gerim.  I have wondered about that from time to time.  Chazal are very precise, and I would have thought they should refer to them as goyim and only after their conversion as gerim.  It would seem, therefore, that gerim are something between goyim and Jews.  Where do gerim come from?  Why is there a middle critter?

Before answering that, let's ask: Where to apes come from?  Why is there a middle critter?  The Me'am Lo'eiz says that apes were a response to the Migdal Bavel disaster.  There were different groups who had different motivations for participating; each was punished appropriately, mida k'neged mida.  One group held, "We are tzelem elokim!  We can compete, therefore, with Elokim Himself!"  Their punishment: to be transformed into "tzelem adam"; a clear demonstration that tzelem elokim is no more elokim than apes are human.  Essentially, they were humans who chose to leave the human race.

When the Ger Tzedek of Poland was given one last chance to return to his nation and thereby avoid being burned at the stake, he answered with simple, yet powerful words.  "When HaShem offered the Torah to all the nations, they voted.  The Jews voted to accept the Torah, of course.  The other nations voted to refuse; but it was not a unanimous vote.  There were individuals who wanted the Torah.  Those are the gerim.  There is no going back for me; I am finally living what I am."  That is, gerim were goyim who chose to leave their nation.  The geirus process is nothing more than revealing who we really are.

Baruch atah HaShem, sh'lo asani goy!


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