Constitutional Streams in Jewish History

If we look at the history of Jewish self-government – let’s just say we haven’t covered ourselves in glory. Possibly the only significant period of Jewish peace was the 38 years in the desert after the last vestiges of the Korach rebellion.

There are two remarkable things about that peace.

First, it doesn’t come because of some extreme divine suppression. Instead, it comes because of the least miraculous of miracles – a staff seems to come to life with almond flowers after staying overnight in the Mishkan. The people saw the symbol of the staff, realized the error of their ways, and made peace with G-d.

Second, right before the period of peace, the people say this:

“Every one that cometh near, that cometh near unto the tabernacle of the LORD, is to die; shall we wholly perish?’” (Bamidbar 17:28)

In other words, we can’t manage the lifestyle restrictions that comes with being close to G-d. It isn’t for us. G-d responds by enabling the people not to come to the Tabernacle. He says:

“And henceforth the children of Israel shall not come nigh the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin, and die. But the Levites alone shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, and among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.” (Bamidbar 18:22-23)

In other words, different Jews streams will lead different lives.

This distinction doesn’t result in a nation torn apart – quite the opposite. It results in an unrivaled internal peace.

On Shabbat we pray: הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ ה’ אֵלֶיךָ וְנָשׁוּבָה. חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם

“…renew our days as of old.”

What halcyon days are we yearning for? There aren’t many to pick from. I think it must be the days of streams, living in peace.

For more on the Streams Constitution, visit the Proposed Constitution of the State of Israel.

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