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The Instructions

09/05/2022 07:01:12 PM


Rabbi Rudin

                                                               All of These Words of this Torah shall be in your heart…

-Deuteronomy 6

So we say twice each day when we recite Shema but… why?  Well how about this:

What if you had a resource that could provide guidance and help with every single problem and challenge that you faced?  A resource that could help you, for example, find your way if conflicts arise in your family: from sibling strife to what seems to be favoritism on the part of parents?  From issues of friendship and peer group problems to dealing with the unfairness and inequality we discover along the way as we grow up?

And as we gain in age and experience what if this resource kept right up, advising us in the challenges of livelihood, domestic life and community?  What if the deeper we seek in this resource, the more treasures of wisdom and meaning are revealed to us?  

What if you find yourself at odds with a member of your family?  What if you find yourself in love with an enemy?  What if you are betrayed by one whom you most trusted?  What if love and companionship elude you no matter how hard you try?  What if someone you are ambivalent about makes a claim on your time and treasure?  What if we are torn between duty and desire, between hope and despair, between what is and what might be?  What guidance is there for us?

And when we face the most difficult questions that life asks us, what if that same resource brings some illumination into what seems darkest?  What if it teaches us about the ultimate issues, about legacy, faith and renewal, about life and love and gives us the strength to surpass ourselves and to touch eternity.

If we had such a resource… perhaps we’d study it every week?   Perhaps we’d discuss its lessons and through inquiry and discussion discover its nested and ever relevant truths?   And when we finally completed reading it, maybe we’d begin reading it again at once?

Well, we do have such a resource.  Written in parchment in our ancient, holy language we call it the Torah which means Instruction.  The word Torah also contains within in the Hebrew word Orah which means light.  And we keep the Torah in an easy to access central location in our community called the Aron or ark.  Because only when we place the values and stories and laws and teachings right in the center does its light inspire and guide us. 

The Mishna quotes a mysterious Rabbi who uses a pseudynm, perhaps because in his day, learning Torah was a forbidden act against the cruel Roman decree.  But that didn't stop from teaching: study the Torah: turn it and turn it again for everything is contained in it.   

May the year ahead be a year guided by the light of Torah, may we all be inspired to study, learn and internalize these teachings.  Because when we do so, even the challenges can be transformed into opportunities for positivity, love and blessing.  L’Shana Tova.

Thu, February 22 2024 13 Adar I 5784