This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
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Parshat Mishpatim (5760)
"These are the laws (Mishpatim) you should place before them"
The first Rebbe of Chabad, the Baal (author of) HaTanya explains this first sentence of our Torah section to mean:
"These are the laws you should put INSIDE of them"
Because it is possible to learn the Torah and keep it outside of one's self, here is an example:
A true story is told about a famous not-very-religious Rabbi called Louis Jacobs. He was a genius and even wrote several very scholarly and interesting books on the Torah.
Once he was walking home after the Sabbath services with his Sabbath guest. His apartment was on the third or fourth floor and there was an elevator in his building.
"Is it permissible to use this on the Sabboth?" asked his guest innocently.
"No, according to Jewish law it is forbidden," answered the 'Rabbi'.
The guest accordingly began to ascend the stairs, when suddenly he heard the door of the elevator close a distance behind him. He looked backward and to his dismay revealed that his host was not there… he had taken the elevator!
The amazed guest ran up the stairs just in time to greet the 'Rabbi' exiting from the machine.
"But I asked you, Rabbi, and you told me that it is forbidden!" he said with wide questioning eyes of surprise.
"It is." The 'rabbi' calmly answered.
"But then… Why did you yourself ride in it!?"
"Very simple" he replied, "You asked, I didn't ask."
For a person to know the laws of the Torah intellectually, and for him to know (and FEEL) that they are the Will of The Infinite King of the Universe, are two very different things.
In fact, it depends on two different definitions of the word 'Knowledge'.
There is the traditional intellectual, cold knowledge, and there is another type of knowledge, ('Tanya' chapt. 3) a complete and total connection to G-d that bears fruit, as it relates in the Torah (Brashis 4:1) "And the man KNEW his wife".
It's like the difference between a live person and a puppet. Both of them move, but one is animated from the outside and the other is alive and warm from the inside.
This is what the Rebbe meant when he said that you should put the laws 'inside of them'; the Torah should make us warm, inspired, and alive, (and we must, in turn, add life to the Torah as it says (Vayikra 18:5) V'Chai B'hem).
But there are many types of inspiration. There are those who are animated and inspired by the fact that the commandments will bring us great rewards and pleasures, both physical and spiritual.
(See also Pirke Avos 1:3, and Rambam Hil. Tshuva 10:1)
These are very powerful motivations but here the Rebbe is speaking here about something much more real and uniquely Jewish that will only be accomplished in a total way by Moshiach (The True Jewish Messiah).
He will make the Torah and all its commandments truly alive and personal by revealing the G_dliness in each human being.
Then the world will be filled with the KNOWLEDGE of G-d like water fills the ocean. (Isiah 11:9)
It's up to us to do all we can especially to read the writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Then even one more thought, word or deed can bring...
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