Yehuda Lave
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Understanding the Bible requires understanding Oral Bible

On the Mountain top G-d Said the Jews, I have the most beautiful present for you, The Torah!

The Jewish people said what does it cost and G-d is free a present. So the Jewish People said if it is free, we will take Two!

The Torah is impossible to understand even if you know Hebrew as a Mother Tongue. What we know as the written Torah, the five books of Moses is only a shorthand synopsis of the full story. If one were to read what is called Cliff notes (a summary of a novel that students use in school to learn literature), you would get the big picture but not the details.

For that reason, it says specifically in the Written Torah that an understanding of the Bible is being given to Moses and this is what is handed down in our Oral Torah. The Talmud summarizes most of the Oral Torah, but even knowing the entire Talmud, one has to study for many years with a knowledgeable teacher to begin to grasp the depth of the Torah.

The 26 books of the bible have about 1200 pages. In the Talmud, there are about 6,000 pages but the commentaries add up to about 20,000 more pages in small type.

“An eye for an eye” (Biblical Hebrew עַ֚יִן תַּ֣חַת עַ֔יִן‎) is the principle that a person who has injured another person is to be penalized to a similar degree, and the person inflicting such punishment should be the injured party.

The Oral Torah teaches however, that it means the victim receives the [estimated] value of the injury in compensation.The intent behind the principle was to compensate the victim, not necessarily to punish the evil doer.

The Talmud teaches this because of the principle that what if an evildoer put out three eyes of victims? He obviously can’t pay with three eyes because he doesn’t have three. Therefore the written Torah does not always mean what it says in black and white. This is the principle of needed the Oral Torah to explain the written text.

“In the third month after the Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sinai.” (Shemot 19:1) Rashi (one of the most important commentaries) explains that Israel arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 6 days before we received the Torah there. According to the Talmud in Tractate Shabbat, the month of Sivan is represented by תאומים which means TWINS. Why did G‑d choose to give us the Torah in the month symbolized by twins?

One explanation is because G‑d gave us Twin Torahs, the Written Torah, and the Oral Torah. This is what King David means “G‑d has spoken once, but these two have I heard.” (The Two Torahs) (Tehillim 62:12)

Rav Ovid Feinstein gives another interesting interpretation of why the Torah was given under the sign of the Twins. The Torah is called Torath Chesed (Mishlei 31:26). The Talmud in Tractate Sota 14a teaches that King Solomon calls it Torath Kindness (Chesed in Hebrew) because the Torah begins with Chesed, where G‑d clothed Adam and Eve, and ends with Chesed where G‑d buries Moshe. In order to keep the Torah properly, we must relate to our fellow Jews in the same way that one twin brother relates to another. The Torah wants us to strive for twin-like sensitivity to each other’s joys and sorrows.

This was the level that Israel attained at Mount Sinai under the monthly sign of the Twins. Thus, the Torah states “Israel encamped there, in front of the mountain.” Rashi wonders, why the word ויחן ENCAMPED is in the singular form when there were 600,000 men there plus many women and children? Rashi answers because at the Giving of the Torah all of Israel was united as one person with one heart. As the famous song goes “UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.”

This is the goal to which we should aspire in all of our relationships with our fellow Jews. Even though we are separate individuals each with different unique personalities and needs, we are still closely connected to our fellow Jews with love and responsibility for one another. As the Torah states in Vayikra 19:18, “Love your fellow Jew as yourself” and Rabbi Akiva said that this is THE cardinal rule of the entire Torah.

About the Author
Yehuda Lave writes a daily (except on Shabbat and Hags) motivational Torah blog at Loving-kindness my specialty. Internationally Known Speaker and Lecturer and Author. Self Help through Bible and Psychology. Classes in controlling anger and finding Joy. Now living and working in Israel. Remember, it only takes a moment to change your life. Learn to have all the joy in your life that you deserve!!! There are great masters here to interpret Spirituality. Studied Kabbalah and being a good human being with Rabbi Plizken and Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, my Rabbi. Torah is the name of the game in Israel, with 3,500 years of mystics and scholars interpreting G-D's word. Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
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