Brands are recognised through various factors, including colours, items, names, slogans, and symbols, and as well as that, they come with an identity and a label. They also come with a promise and reliability, an efficiency and consistency. When one thinks of Nike, they think of the logo, and they think of Just Do It. When one thinks of Macy’s or even Trader Joe’s, they think of the brown bags, and even the Scandinavian Swimmer candies. These are the literal symbols, slogans, items, and products that represent the brands themselves. Coffee, for example, comes with a preference in taste and consistency. A brand, such as Dunkin Donuts, or Cofix, would need to produce the same coffee so that it consistently tastes the same to those who enjoy it, so that then the customer remains consistent with choosing that specific brand of coffee. When travelling abroad, why do we choose to fly specific airlines? It tends to be out of consistency because the specific airline we choose whether it is El Al, Delta or Virgin, brings something consistent to our travelling experience, and would then lead to an experience with gaining benefits or deals.
Matan Torah is the event that branded the Jewish people as a nation. The Torah is the item and the product of the Jewish people; it is the centrality and at the core of everything we do. The Torah is a name; a name that represents the covenant between Hashem and Moshe, and the story of the Jewish people which contains a symmetry of events which are at the core of our history, who we are and what we do. When someone hears the word Torah, they know it is what is at the heart of the Jewish people, and as Rambam tells us and the Mishnah tells us (Hilkhot Talmud Torah 3:3 | Peah 1:1), Talmud Torah is equivalent to all other mitzvot. It is a practical consideration. The only way how to live life as a committed Jew is to learn Torah and the laws of the Torah; it is at the centre of our interactions and decision-making which branded us as a nation.
Torah comes with an identity, and a promise which is part of the slogan that we received after the revelation itself, which appears in Parashat Mishpatim, naaseh v’nishma. Every brand comes with a promise that they will provide, and the slogan, naaseh v’nishma reflects the promise which the Jewish people recited. That promise is consistent, because we stick to it with everything we do, several thousands of years later after the Torah was given.
Consistency and hard work are at the centre of Torah, as we know our relationship with Torah is described as a morasha, based off the verse, “the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov” (Devarim 33:4). There is a discussion regarding the distinction between a “yerusha” and a “morasha”. A yerusha is used to describe the passing down of something, materially perhaps, from a parent to a child. A morasha is used in the context of the pasuk we have used here, as well as being used in the context of Eretz Yisrael. A yerusha is described as something that comes easily (Yerushalmi Bava Batra 8:2); it is easily received. In contrast, a morasha is something that needs to be worked for and needs an active involvement. One may inherit something from their parents or grandparents, but for it to be a morasha, it requires active involvement. Anything within an occupational trajectory needs efficiency, effort and hard work put into it, whether that be any business, initiative, or institution. A good brand works hard actively, to produce what their slogan says. Torah is something we put effort and commitment into because we want to have the greatest relationship with Hashem, and naaseh v’nishma reflects that.
A morasha used in the context of Torah and Eretz Yisrael is unique. The gemara tells us (Berakhot 5a) that three gifts Hashem gave the Jewish people which can only be acquired through commitment and suffering are Torah, Eretz Yisrael and Olam Haba. These three things which are at as the centre of what we do and our values should be consistent. If Am Yisrael are consistent at avoiding sinat chinam, keep the Torah, share the Torah, and move on to and preserve Eretz Yisrael, there can be an Olam Haba. What’s important to understand is that these things cannot be easily acquired and require a strong effort and consistency. It depends on our effort, as the Mishna tells us (Avot 2:10) to prepare ourselves to study Torah because it is not an inheritance. Torah is about effort and consistency. This is reflected in the fact that something which is over 2,000 years old is still relevant today. We still do and we still hear the messages of Moshe Rabbeinu and Chazal, and we can put an effort in that, and it becomes vibrant and innovative because we are finding chiddushim every single day from the cryptic and oral texts. People are writing and producing new sefarim every single day, about things which are thousands of years old with innovative approaches, yet the Torah remains the same and is consistent. The nature of Torah is one that is endless and limitless. Rashi, based off the pasuk (Vayikra 26:3) explains that there is an expectation where we live diligent lives and we understand living life is being committed to learning and studying Torah. As well as consistency, this branding comes with a commitment. We stay committed to the slogan which was declared and which defines us.
We are living in a generation where fashion and what we wear, coffee and what we drink, and what music or podcast platforms we choose to listen to affects who we are as people and has a direct impact on our lives through a positive influence. So too, Torah has a direct impact on our lives through a positive influence. It is consistent, over 2000 years old, and we are still following it. The revelation and naaseh v’nishma is still there and the branding has a direct impact on our lives. Choosing to subscribe to Apple every month for music is a consistency, sticking with the brand, and the music has a direct impact on an individual. We subscribe to Torah, and we keep it and it has a direct impact on who we are. It has an impact on our relationship with God, people, the workforce, what we eat, how we live, and everything in between.
In the context of morasha, which we have explored, ultimately, we must transmit the values from generation to generation in that it becomes consistent. The aspect of consistency and branding the Torah in a consistent way is clearly shown because it is still being kept over 2000 years later, moving from generation to generation. We must continue to have the slogan of naaseh v’nishma embedded into us, so that we are actively engaged in Torah, producing Torah, and doing kiddush Hashem.