Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Va'eschanan

Facing the Challenge

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

"G-d our L-rd sealed a covenant with us at Chorev. Not with our forefathers alone did G-d seal this covenant, but with us, we who are here today, all of us alive. Face to face G-d spoke to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire." (Devarim/Deuteronomy 5:2-4) Moshe then repeated the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments that G-d uttered as the central event of the Revelation at Sinai when the Children of Israel accepted G-d's Torah to create a timeless covenant. Sifri (Tannaitic halachic medrash to the Books of Bamidbar and Devarim) discusses G-d's initial offer of the Torah to the nations of the world. Understandably, they wanted to know what it contained. To one nation He told the ban on murder, to another the prohibition of adultery. When they heard of these restrictions they had no interest in accepting the Torah. They refused the offer.

In Beraishis/Genesis, centuries before the Torah was given, G-d spelled out the Seven Noahide Laws that all of mankind is obligated to follow. These seven include the prohibitions of adulterous relationships and homicide. Why, then, did G-d, when offering the nations of the world the Torah, describe the Torah using mitzvos (commandments) they were already commanded to follow? More so, why would the nations of the world forego the opportunity to become G-d's chosen people simply because the Torah contained commandments they were already obligated to observe?

Rabbi Gedaliah Schorr (Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Mesivta Torah Voda'ath in New York; 1910-1979; acknowledged as one of the first American trained gedolim [Torah giants], he authored Ohr Gedalyahu on the Torah and festivals) explains the fundamental difference between the Decalogue and the Seven Noahide Laws. Rashi (Shemos/Exodus 22:12) clarifies that all 613 of the Torah's mitzvos are alluded to in the Ten Commandments. Each one of the ten has numerous lessons and obligations extending from it, guidelines for the countless intricate details of life. Rabbeinu Yonah explains that an extension of the ban on murder is a prohibition of embarrassing another person; such an act is tantamount to killing the person. But the original Noahide restrictions were not nearly so broad and imposing. One could readily go through life, maintaining the guidelines of the command with no requisite character refinement. The Torah was given to people to enable them to realize their spiritual potential. This accomplishment necessitates attention not only to the big picture but on all of the small details as well.

This is what G-d was telling the other nations when he offered them the Torah; this is the level of responsibility they rebuffed. But the Jewish nation answered "we shall do and we shall listen." We accept the challenge, we will grow from the challenge.

Have a Good Shabbos!


Copyright © 2003 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Project Genesis, Inc.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of the Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 414-447-7999

 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

The Counting of the Omer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Why Is this Portion Different From All Other Portions?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

Sweet Revenge
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

> Holy Mitzvah!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Empty Nest
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

All the Rest is Commentary!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Senior Partner
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Don't Take Revenge...
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Unspoken Words
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

ArtScroll

Don't Take it to Heart
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Role of Spouse in Loving One's Neighbor
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Now Become Holy!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Reason The Torah Prohibits Marrying Two Sisters
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Holiness - Served Fresh
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Separate and Pure
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Focus on the Counting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information