Chapter 3: Mishna 6: Part 2
This idea (that one who is intimately connected to G-d escapes the
limitations and control imposed upon him by physical systems) is embodied
in the statement of Rabbi Yossi (Tr. Avodah Zarah 5a): "The Jewish people
accepted the Torah [only] so that the Angel of Death, other nation[s], and
other 'tongues' (cultures) should have no power over them, as it is written
(Psalms 82:6-8) 'I had said, you are Angels, all of you sons of the most
High. Nevertheless, you shall die like a man, and fall as one man, O princes.'
The power of the "Angel of Death" represents the process of nature to which
man is subjected, for death is a fundamental component of the natural,
physical system. The power of nations and culture represents the
governmental and social systems to which man is subjected. One who
subjects himself to the burden of Torah, which is a Divine system,
emancipates himself from being controlled by the natural and human systems
(even as he must remain involved in them).
This idea is also taught in Chapter 6 (Mishna 2) " 'The tablets are the
writing of G-d, engraved (charut)...,' (Shemoth 32:16). Don't pronounce it
"charut" (engraved) but "cheirut" (emancipated), for there is no one who is
free save one is involved in Torah, which elevates him...". This Mishna
explains to us that one who is involved in Torah elevates himself above the
level of the natural system, which regulates the world (in a fixed and
compelling way), and above the level of human regulation of society,
neither of which are inherently natural (because there is no specific form
of government, and no specific set of societal norms which are
fundamentally compelling). This elevation frees man from the two systems
which can exert control over him (within the physical system).
We still need to understand why it is that one who is involved in Torah
achieves this elevation above the natural, physical world. "Sechel" (we
have explained this to mean the spiritual/intellectual dimension of man)
rises above the material world, which frees man from being regulated by the
natural and societal systems, both of which emanate from Olam HaZeh" (the
ephemeral, material world, which was created temporarily to enable man to
prepare for the eternal "world to come"). One who is involved in Torah
transcends the level of Olam HaZeh. Therefore the burdens of government
and livelihood are removed from him.
Even though a person can't exist without a livelihood, and he needs to work
in order to have the resources necessary to be involved in Torah, he,
nevertheless, doesn't carry the BURDEN of a livelihood. When he accepts
upon himself the burden of Torah, his livelihood will come to him without
difficulty. This is because of his intimate connection with G-d, which
raises him above the level of Olam HaZeh (the physical system, the nature
of which imposes a struggle to earn ones livelihood).
But if he relieves himself from the burden of Torah, he is gravitating
towards Olam HaZeh, the material world, by opting out of an existence in a
higher level system. By rooting himself in the material dimension, the
natural consequence is that he is subjected to controls and regulations
inherent in that world, the burdens of government and livelihood.
When you understand "chochmah" very well (these are code words in the
Maharal for the introduction of Kabbalistic concepts) you will understand
how it is that one who accepts the burden of Torah has the burdens of
government and livelihood removed from him. In the Beith Hamikdash, the
Shulchan (Table) was in the north, and it symbolized royalty, which
represents the regulation of governmental systems in this world. The
Menorah was in the south, and it had seven branches, which represents the
seven days of creation, the system of nature in the world. (The number
seven always represents a natural cycle, encompassing the totality of the
physical world.) This is known to those versed in "chochmah." These two
items of the Temple were situated in the Heichal (the main hall of the Holy
Temple) which represents the material world. The Torah, on the other hand
was kept in the Aron (the Ark), which was in the Holy of Holies, which
symbolizes the metaphysical, upper world.
It should be understood that the burden of livelihood and the burden of
government themselves are two distinct categories, the former emanating
from the system of nature, and the latter system emanating from human
consensus and dictates. The Torah transcends both systems, and frees man
from their control and limitations, when he subjects himself to the system
of the Torah. This was enough of an explanation to those who understand.
(With this concluding line, the Maharal again implies the Kabbalistic
nature of these last ideas. Our Rabbis teach us that transmission of
Kabalistic ideas is done by giving them over in vague terms, rather than
spelling them out in detail, making proper understanding available only to
those properly equipped to "fill in the blanks.")
The class is taught by Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky,Dean of Darche Noam Institutions, YeshivatDarche Noam/Shapell's and Midreshet Rachel for Women.