Thursday, May 3, 2012

320 - Tzav

Rav Wolbe (Da'as Shlomo) offers an interesting insight into the difference between Torah and other worldly wisdoms. While all other wisdoms answer the question of, "What is it?" the Torah answers the question, "What does it have to do with me?"

For example if we were to ask, "What is fire?" we would receive a detailed explanation of its chemical properties, how a fire is started and what fuels it. However, the Torah enlightens us to the relationship we are to have with fire. It is one of the four main things that cause damage, and therefore, one must watch over his coals and compensate any damage caused by a fire that he started. Additionally, there are mitzvos that we must perform with fire, as mentioned in this week's parsha, "A fire should be lit on the mizbeiach constantly, it should not be extinguished." We might add, that next week we are commanded to use fire in the fulfillment of a mitzvah of to burn any chometz left in our possession.

This idea also holds true with regard to Hashem. The Torah does not tell us Who Hashem is, yet, it does inform us of the relationship He has with us. Chazal tell us that Hashem wrapped Himself in a tallis, so to speak, and told Moshe that whenever Bnei Yisroel recite His thirteen attributes of mercy, Hashem will forgive them. The Shelah quotes the Geonim who explain that reciting the thirteen attributes of mercy does not mean the mere stating of the attributes, but rather, the emulation of these attributes. We create a relationship with Hashem when we follow in His ways.

The Maharal writes that the word "Torah" comes from the same root as the word "hora'ah" which means "instruction" since it instructs a person as to the proper way to relate to everything in the creation. 

While the above is definitely true, the Torah teaches us much more than just how to relate to things. The Mishna in Avos (6, 1) states that for one who engages in Torah study, "It makes him great and elevates him above all things." The Torah exalts a person and gives him reign over all things because it delineates the proper course of action in any situation that could possibly arise! 

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