Torah Tidbits

19 April 2014 / 19 Nisan 5774
Issue 1056
Shabbat Parshat Shoftim
August 08, 2013

Lead Tidbit

Emunat Chachamim

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Emunat Chachamim

The king was waging a war. His troops were in the battlefield and he had to get an urgent message to his general. He wrote a scroll with the letters RTB, and a note to the general that the servant would tell him what RTB means. He sealed the scroll with the royal seal, and sent the message with his most trusted servant. The servant arrived at the general’s camp and delivered the scroll. The general recognized the servant and knew of the king’s complete trust and faith in him. He recognized the king’s seal and handwriting and asked the messenger what the king had told him about RTB. The messenger told him that the king wants them to RUN THE BLOCKADE. One of the general’s advisors challenged the message. He too recognized the seal and the handwriting, but refused to accept the word of servant as to what RTB meant. After pondering its meaning for a while, he posited that the king was telling the army to RETURN TO BASE. The general trusted the king and his servant and dismissed the advice of his staff member. He ran the blockade and was successful in the battle.
Note well, that the general and the army needed to trust not only the king but his messenger as well. They needed to accept the written message AND the king’s instructions to accept the words of the messenger as his own.
The King gave us the Torah at Sinai. He dictated the content of the scroll to His trusted messenger - Moshe Rabeinu - and instructed him as to what the words of the scroll mean. When Moshe told us what was in the scroll AND explained to us what G-d meant when He wrote the words, we must have trust, faith, belief, confidence in both the Written Word of the King AND in the messages that the King instructed Moshe - and further members of the Chain of Tradition throughout the generations - to deliver to us.
The King wrote that clearly in His scroll. D’varim 17:11 - AL PI HATORAH ASHER YORUCHA… according the the Torah which they will teach you… They are the Sages of Sanhedrin, generation after generation. And they are the Torah scholars who continue the Chain of Tradition ever since.
Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and gave it to Yehoshua (this week’s Perek), and Yehoshua to the Elders and the Elders to the Prophets and the Prophets to the Anshei Knesset HaG’dola.
But it didn’t stop there. Because the Anshei Knesset HaG’dola taught future generations - including ours - how to keep the Torah alive for all time.
There really isn’t any dividing line between the Written Word and the Oral Law and Tradition. Because the Written word commands us that we shall do as the transmitters of Oral Law teach us…
Our acceptance of Torah, Mitzvot and Halacha is based on a complete faith, belief, trust, and confidence in G-d AND in those who teach us what G-d meant and who legislate Rabbinic law. Including the halachic authorities throughout the generations. Including those of our own time. This is what EMUNAT CHACHAMIM means. And it is this EMUNAT CHACHAMIM that keeps the Torah which G-d gave us alive and well throughout all the generations.

In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

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