Sunday, February 06, 2005

Parashat Mishpatim - part II - Love of Torah

In chapter 24 of the book of Exodus, there is a remarkable text, underscored by an even more remarkable Rashi, which is so radical that later interpreters literally had to turn the text inside-out to accommodate what Rashi tells us in black and white.

Exodus 24:4 tells us that "Moshe wrote all the words of G-d..." Then, verse 7: "And he [Moshe] took the Book of the Covenant and read it into the ears of the people, and they said 'Everything that G-d said we will do and we will hear." This is seen by many commentators as one of the most important verses in Torah -- the "we will do and we will hear" is the very heart of observance. (It's easy to remember, because it is chapter 24, verse 7, and we should all, of course, be involved in Torah 24/7...)

The more famous half of the verse -- "we will do and we will hear" -- is taken to mean that we accept all the mitzvot, and we will do them, even the ones we haven't heard yet. This is the formula that is required of a convert, and signals the readiness of Bnei Israel to accept Torah without reservation. But what does the first half of the verse mean, "Moshe read the book into the ears of the people..."?

But what is the text telling us here? Moshe, in verse 4, wrote the book? Then he read it to the people in verse 7? Then, in verse 15, Moshe actually ascends the mountain to receive the Torah? And Rashi is no help, because on verse 7 he states that Moshe reads to the people all of the Book of Genesis, plus the entire Book of Exodus up to this point, this being what he had written in verse 4!

There is an ongoing debate -- crystallized in the approaches of Rashi versus Ramban -- about the order of the giving of Torah. How many times does Moshe go up the mountain? There are multiple ways to count, perhaps as many as seven. Perhaps more. Perhaps only two.

How many times is torah given? Rashi says twice: once at the giving of the Ten Commandments, which conflates with the giving in Parashat Mishpatim; and a second time after the Golden Calf. The Ramban seems to say three times -- with the Ten Commandments being an aperitif, separate and distinct from the two times the tablets are given.

Each morning we say three blessings on the study of Torah. The first is a blessing of performance of a mitzvah -- the mitzvah of Torah study. Sephardim say "... who has commanded us on / concerning words / things of Torah." Ashkenazim say"... who has commanded us la'asoq in words / things of Torah." The word la'asoq is generally translated "To engage in", and this is certainly a correct translation. However, the root of the word -- 'eseq -- has the meaning of engagement / struggle / dispute / involvement / transaction. Thus, it is possible to read this Berachah: "To carry on our business in accordance with words of Torah", also: "To fight with words of Torah" -- in other words, to struggle with the text until it yields its inner meaning.

The second starts: "And make sweet, we ask you, the words of Torah..." The rabbis tell us that this blessing is not a blessing of performance of a mitzvah. When we put on tefillin, for example, we make a blessing regarding the performance of that mitzvah -- just as the first Torah blessing is a blessing of mitzvah. Here, though, the rabbis say this is actually a birkat ha-nehenin -- a blessing of enjoyment, similar to the blessings we make when we eat food.

And indeed, enjoyment, delight is one of the key components of Torah study. If we do not approach our study of Torah with passion and profound delight, we are not living up to the fulfillment of the mitzvah! The gemara in Avodah Zarah (18a) states: "At all times, a person should study Torah in the place that his heart delights." Enjoyment is not a side-effect, not a collateral benefit of Torah study. Indeed, the gemara tells us it is a precondition to proper fulfillment of the mitzvah!


And so, "In the place in which he delights..." As the midrash tells us, Israel rushed towards Mt Sinai in passionate desire for Torah.

And what did Moshe do? Before he had even received the words of Torah, he sat down and composed them. Did he write the words that G-d would later speak? Did he learn the words of the Ten Commandments and tease out from them the inner meaning, thus enabling him to write the actual text of Genesis?

Who is right: Rashi? The Ramban? Neither?

The answer is: both. And then some. For Torah tells its own story, and the tellings and retellings of the giving of Torah is like a vast cubist painting, where the same event is examined from multiple perspectives, is turned over and over, and each angle reveals new truths we never grasped before.

Moshe, passionate, desperate, pining for his Beloved, the Torah, was creating Torah for himself. Creating Torah out of a pure love. He was truly "in the place that his heart delights" and could wait no longer for his Beloved. And, seeing this, G-d realized Torah had to be given immediately. Otherwise, the people, in their passion and love, would cling to the words written by a man.

Why does G-d wait so long to give Torah to the world in all its glory, in complete form? Is it because nobody wanted it? Over and over in Torah we see the theme that merely wanting something is not sufficient. A combination of readiness and necessity must prevail, a delicate and complex mix of conditions must be met before G-d intervenes. We have just seen this clearly in Mitzraim, where our salvation came only after we lost sight of G-d completely, and at the same time, Moshe was able to see and comprehend the vast scope of exile.

As Hamlet says: The readiness is all.

As with the redemption from Egypt, and as he will do on repeated occasions, so too with the giving of Torah, Moshe forced G-d's hand.

Are you ready?


Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 10.29
nike free, oakley sunglasses, burberry outlet, air max, louis vuitton handbags, michael kors outlet, rolex watches, tiffany and co, ugg outlet, polo ralph lauren, oakley sunglasses, longchamp handbags, jordan shoes, ray ban sunglasses, air max, oakley sunglasses cheap, louboutin, louis vuitton, burberry outlet, kate spade outlet, prada outlet, uggs, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, louis vuitton outlet stores, coach outlet, gucci outlet, nike shoes, michael kors outlet online sale, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, ugg boots clearance, prada handbags, louboutin shoes, longchamp handbags, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, cheap uggs, kate spade handbags, louboutin outlet, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, uggs outlet

10:21 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

michael kors outlet, nike free, michael kors uk, true religion jeans, hollister, hogan outlet, abercrombie and fitch, north face, true religion outlet, sac longchamp pas cher, nike tn, coach outlet store online, nike air max, nike trainers, lululemon outlet online, michael kors, nike air force, north face, nike roshe run pas cher, air max, true religion outlet, ray ban pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, polo lacoste, polo ralph lauren, longchamp, coach purses, new balance pas cher, louboutin, sac burberry, mulberry, nike huaraches, sac hermes, air max pas cher, coach factory outlet, ralph lauren, vans pas cher, nike roshe, oakley pas cher, vanessa bruno, converse pas cher, hollister, sac guess, air max, hollister, nike free pas cher, air jordan, timberland, true religion jeans, michael kors pas cher, longchamp

10:22 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

north face jackets, nfl jerseys, p90x, soccer shoes, instyler, air max, iphone 6s cases, louboutin, mcm handbags, north face outlet, ferragamo shoes, valentino shoes, nike roshe run, chi flat iron, converse, insanity workout, vans, air max, mac cosmetics, ray ban, wedding dresses, babyliss pro, timberland boots, iphone 6s plus cases, vans shoes, asics running shoes, gucci, abercrombie and fitch, reebok outlet, lululemon outlet, beats by dre, baseball bats, abercrombie, s6 case, ghd, ipad cases, celine handbags, ralph lauren, soccer jerseys, bottega veneta, oakley, mont blanc, jimmy choo outlet, hollister clothing store, new balance shoes, iphone cases, birkin bag, herve leger, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 plus cases, giuseppe zanotti, iphone 6 cases, nike blazer

10:24 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

juicy couture outlet, swarovski, swarovski crystal, ugg, hollister, barbour, moncler, moncler, canada goose, montre homme, ugg pas cher, michael kors outlet, moncler, canada goose, ugg, converse shoes, toms shoes, moncler, louis vuitton uk, ugg, canada goose, pandora jewelry, wedding dresses, doke gabbana, pandora jewelry, marc jacobs, thomas sabo, canada goose jackets, links of london, sac louis vuitton, moncler outlet, ugg boots, moncler, michael kors outlet online, sac lancel, pandora charms, louis vuitton, michael kors handbags, moncler, juicy couture, louis vuitton, coach outlet store online, canada goose uk, rolex watches, canada goose outlet, sac louis vuitton, karen millen, canada goose, barbour, canada goose, moncler, supra shoes
ninest123 10.29

10:25 PM  
Blogger Liu Liu said...

Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Jets CB NFL Tom Brady Jerseys Darrelle Revis. Normally it would be a receiver vs. a cornerback, but the Pats have a Nike Free Run slew of underrated receivers to choose from -- nfl jerseys store Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman, for starters -- and in the last Jets-Pats matchup, Brady seemed to target Christian Louboutin Women Flat Revis christian louboutin shoes in key Nike Air Max 2015 Shoes spots. It's really no secret christian louboutin men flat why. Revis has had a miserable season and, while the Jets' secondary cheap nfl jerseys as louboutin outlet a whole has struggled, the ex-Pat has been one of the most NFL Rob Gronkowski Nike Jerseys vulnerable spots. It's a good bet Brady will wholesale nfl jerseys do it again, especially if it works early. It's late in the season to be suggesting this, but it Nike Air Max 90 would probably a good idea if defensive christian louboutin uk coordinator Kacy Rodgers gets Revis some help. christian louboutin Panettone spiked leather wallet

7:39 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home