Shabbos Parashas Metzora

Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaDaas (Gate of the Intellect), Chapter 15, beginning
We continue with our analysis of the blessing that follows the morning Shema:
True and certain, established and enduring, right and steadfast, beloved and cherished, delightful and pleasant, awesome and mighty, correct and accepted, good and beautiful is this word unto us forever and ever.
We examine now the term established (נכון). The word נכון is related to the word מוכן, meaning ready or prepared, and can also bear this meaning [as in Nechemia 8:10, “send portions to those who do not have anything prepared (אין נכון לו)]. We will consider how the word prepared applies to the Torah.
In Bereishis Rabbah 11:7, the Sages teach: “Everything in creation needs preparation: Mustard needs sweetening, lupines need sweetening, and wheat needs be to be ground.” And given that these creations of Hashem need preparation, it is all the more so with man-made things. Thus it is, in particular, with man-made codes of social behavior. A large contingent of men with great minds is required to develop such a code, even though it is to apply over a limited domain for a limited time. They need to consider what should be done and how it should be done. And they need to consider the various circumstances that can arise and the different factors that can come into play, such as the place, the time, and the nature of the people for whom the code is intended. Consequently, each enactment must be spelled out with thousands of details, corresponding to the thousands of cases that can arise.
Now, a social code relates only to how people deal with each other, in monetary matters and the like. It is aimed only at promoting mutual respect among people and establishing order in commercial affairs. It deals with mundane matters, and is not aimed at addressing the fundamental aspects of human existence. Nonetheless, in a short time numerous questions will arise regarding the application of the rules, including questions that the legislators themselves are unsure how to answer.
Let us now compare our precious Torah to man-made social codes. The Torah was given to us by the Creator and Master of the universe. All the affairs of our lives are dictated by the Torah. We depend on the Torah like a suckling depends on his mother. In addition, the reasons behind many of the Torah’s laws are hidden from us. We do not know why the Torah forbids us to eat certain things, such as the meat of certain animals, fish, and birds, insects and the like, or leavened bread during Pesach. Neither do we know the reasons behind the laws dealing with people experiencing certain bodily discharges, or the reasons behind the laws dealing with the disease of tzaraas. We do not fully understand why the Torah forbids us to be jealous of others, or take revenge, or to bear a grudge. And the Torah does not spell out all the reasons why we must fear and love Hashem and Torah scholars. But although the reasons may be hidden, the Torah dictates how we should act in every area of life.
The Torah applies equally to all sectors of the Jewish People – young and old, healthy and ill, poor and rich, lofty and lowly, Kohanim and prophets. It governs us for all generations; it is an eternal decree that will not change. Undoubtedly, given the myriads of situations that can arise, with the various time periods, places, and people involved, myriads of questions arise about how to act in various circumstances. Nonetheless, Hashem foresaw all the possible situations that can arise and gave us a Torah through which we can determine exactly how to fulfill each mitzvah in any set of circumstances. Our conduct is determined by the finest distinctions; as the Sages put it, the words of the Torah are “like mountains suspended on a hair” (Sifrei 235 on Devarim 32:46). For example, in regard to the laws of Shabbos, we have the Talmudic tractates Shabbos and Eiruvin and the works of the great Torah masters that explicate in the finest detail what these laws dictate in every situation.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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