Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Who benefits from a mitzvah?

Hi,

"The benefit of mitzvot is not for Gd, but for people themselves, to avert harm or bad belief or a bad trait, or to remember miracles and wonders of Gd and to know Gd."

(Ramban to Devarim 22:6)

חג אורים שמח,
Mordechai

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The mitzvah and its cause

Hi,

"Each general mitzvah must have a cause, and it is commanded for a particular benefit. However, its components are just commands. For example, regarding killing a living thing for good food, the benefit is as we will clarify, but the fact that it is performed via shechitah rather than nechirah, and severing the esophagus and windpipe in a particular spot, these and similar actions are to refine the creations...

"The mitzvah of bringing a korban provides great benefit, as I will explain, but having one korban as a lamb and one as a ram, and having designated numbers for each, one cannot present a cause for it at all. Anyone who would burden himself to give an explanation for these components would be, in my eyes, entering a lengthy lunacy, and would not remove the inscrutability but increase it. One who imagines that there is a reason is far from truth, like one who imagines that the entire mitzvah has no benefit."

(Rambam, Moreh haNevuchim 3:26)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Beit haMikdash and the Earth

Hi,

A fascinating mystical idea: The Beit haMikdash is designed to parallel features of our planet:

"For this reason they said that the Temple Mount was 500 by 500 [cubits], parallel to the world as a whole, which is 500 years' walk in width and length, 500 by 500. 

"And it is known that the world stands without support, suspended by the declaration of Gd, like Job 27, 'He suspends the world on nothing.' So they said that under the Temple Mount were domes upon domes, with hollow spaces below, like the world standing upon nothing."

(Rabbi Moshe Isserles, Torat haOlah 1:1)

Have a great day,
Mordechai


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shabbat clothing

Hi

"It is written (Isaiah 58:13) regarding Shabbat, 'You shall honour it, refraining from performing ordinary tasks.' 'You shall honour it' indicates that your Shabbat clothing should not be like your weekday clothing. 

"This follows along the lines of Rabbi Yochanan's practice of calling his clothing, 'The source of my honour.'"

(Talmud, Shabbat 113a)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Alone with G-d

Hi,

"Hitbodedut is a great level, surpassing everything else. This means to set aside at least an hour every day to be alone in a room or a field and to speak with one’s Creator, explaining oneself, appeasing, and supplicating Him to bring oneself close to true divine service. And this prayer and discussion should be held in the vernacular, i.e. Yiddish… for it is hard for us to speak in Hebrew, which we are not used to… But in Yiddish, which we are accustomed to, it is easier to express oneself… One should express all that is in one’s heart before G-d: regret and teshuva regarding the past and supplications to draw close to G-d… It is important to practice this every day at an appointed time and the rest of the day is to be joyous. And this practice is very great and constitutes an excellent method for drawing close to G-d… for everyone can do this and in doing so one will reach a great level. Happy is he who follows this."

(Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, Likutei Moharan II 25, translated by Zvi Leshem, Tradition 47:3 (2014))

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Free healthcare?

Hi,

Preface: The Torah requires an assailant to pay for his victim's medical care. (Shemot 21:19)

"If the assailant says, 'I will bring you a doctor for nothing,' his victim is entitled to reply, 'A doctor who heals for nothing is worth nothing.'"

(Talmud, Bava Kama 85a)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Monday, December 8, 2014

Free education for all!

Hi,

"Rav Yehudah cited Rav: Devarim 4:5 says, 'See, I have taught you.' Just as I taught you for free, so you must teach for free."

(Talmud, Bechorot 29a)

Have a great day,
Mordechai