Shabbos Parashas Lech-Lecha

Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaDaas (Gate of the Intellect), Chapter 7, Part 2
From the time the Jewish People left Egypt to the time Yerushalayim was destroyed, the Beis HaMikdash was rendered desolate, and the Jewish People went into exile, the testimony of Hashem’s existence and control over the world was firmly recognized, even by people with weak minds and hearts who were irresolute and lacked the capability of intellectual analysis. The truth of our faith was as openly apparent as the sun at noontime, whose light enables people to walk about and whose existence everyone perceives clearly, with no one entertaining the thought of denying it or even harboring any doubt about it. The experience of the exodus from Egypt and the revelation at Sinai was engraved in the Jewish People’s hearts. Hashem had performed miracles for the Jewish People at the time of the exodus from Egypt and had miraculously split the Sea of Reeds, allowing the Jewish People to walk through. At Sinai He manifested Himself and gave the Jews the Torah. Regarding the giving of the Torah it is written (Shoftim 5:4-5, Devorah’s song): “Hashem, when You went forth from Seir, when You strode forth from the field of Edom, the earth quaked and also the heavens dripped, indeed, the clouds dripped water. The mountains melted before Hashem – this is Sinai – before Hashem, the God of Yisrael.” The words on the tablets of the law that the Jewish People received at Sinai were written by the finger of Hashem; the middle part of the letters mem sofis and samech remained miraculously suspended in place (Shabbos 104a). Hashem brought the Jews into Eretz Yisrael and enabled them to take the land over from great nations. The defeat of these nations had not come about through the Jewish People’s might; rather, Hashem provided them a miraculous victory. The Beis HaMikdash that Shlomo HaMelech built was of supreme magnificence; the entire world from one end to the other heard about it and knew of its splendor and of the service that the Kohanim performed there. No one in the world denied it or entertained any doubt about it, just as no one entertains a doubt that his father is his father and his mother is his mother and starts searching for proofs that they are truly his parents.
Thus, Shlomo HaMelech declared (Mishlei 4:1-2): “Hear, children, a father’s instruction and be attentive to know understanding. For I have given you a good teaching; do not forsake My Torah.” The Torah is in our possession through a chain of tradition from our ancestors, as it is written (Devarim 4:9): “And inform your children and your children’s children.” It is the duty of every father to teach his children, and it is the duty of the child to accept his father’s words. At the same time, in regard to the written Torah, the father does not have license to make up his own phrasing of what the written Torah says. Rather, he is obligated to teach to his child the written Torah exactly as it was handed down at Sinai from Hashem’s mouth through Moshe. He must not change a single thing. For this reason, in regard to teaching the written Torah, our Sages did not make any distinction between a father who is wise and saintly and a father who is not. In regard to the oral Torah, our Sages did make such a distinction, saying (Chaggigah 15b): “If the teacher is like an angel of the Master of Legions then seek Torah from his mouth; if not, do not seek Torah from his mouth.” But in regard to the written Torah there is no such distinction. For the father has no input into what is being taught. He is like a messenger who brings a letter from afar, where the recipient’s task is simply to take the letter from the messenger’s hand, read it, and understand what is written. Thus, in the passage from Mishlei quoted above, the Hebrew word used for teaching is לקח, stemming from the Hebrew verb ללקוח, meaning to take, indicating that when a son learns the written Torah from his father, he is like a person simply taking a letter from a trustworthy messenger. Accordingly, the authenticity of the written Torah is accepted as an irrefutable fact even among the gentile nations, and is widely studied and respected.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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