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Seeing G-d's Imprint on Creation
Torah.org ^ | '02 | Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky

Posted on 08/24/2006 8:29:16 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator

3. The Vulnerability of the Mind

The Torah tells us that there are certain prohibitions which pertain only to the Melech Yisroel (King of Israel). The Torah states, "Only he shall not have too many horses for himself, so that he will not return the people to Egypt in order to increase horses....And he shall not have too many wives, so that his heart not turn astray; and he shall not greatly increase silver and gold for himself."

The Gemara in Tractate Sanhedrin tells us that Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon), who was the wisest man to who ever lived, raised sables of horses despite the prohibition that he was not permitted. In addition, he had more than the allowed number of wives despite the explicit prohibition. How could King Solomon who was a tzadik violate so blatantly an explicit Negative Commandment in the Torah.

Shlomo HaMelech understood that he was the wisest man to ever live and therefore believed that because of his wisdom these particular prohibitions set forth by the Torah for King of Israel do not pertain to him. Shlomo HaMelech understood the basis for the prohibition of raising stables of horses or having more than the permitted number of wives was based on the concern that we we may return to Egypt or that the wives of the King may turn his heart astray. However, he believed (because of his level of understanding an wisdom) that this was not a possibility and therefore had no relevance to him. As it is stated in Prophets, Shlomo HaMelech did fail because his wife did influence his heart and he did return to Egypt.

When the Torah states prohibitions it does not provide any rationale for them. The Torah only says do not do such and such. It is evident that the basis to observe these Negative Commandments is because Hashem has commanded us to do so. However regarding the Negative Commandments pertaining to the King, the Torah does provide the rationale. It is interesting to note that Shlomo Hamelech, the wisest man to ever live, only failed in areas in which the Torah does provide a rationale for the prohibition. It is only because the Torah did provide the reasons that Shlomo Hamelech did fail. He believed that because of his level of understanding these prohibitions were of no consequence to him.

People usually fail in areas in which they believe they understand the basis for mitzvah (Positive and Commandment). If one understood that the basis for observing the Commandments is beyond the human grasp, and it is solely based on doing the Will of Hashem, then there is no basis to justify the transgression of the mitzvah.

The Torah tells us that the wife of Potifera (the master of Yosef) attempted to seduce him. He rejected her advances by saying, how could he betray his master after all that he had done for him. Potifera had given Yosef full reign over all that he possessed and the only thing that was withheld from Yosef was his wife. In other words betraying his master would be considered an act of ingratitude. However Yosef concluded by saying to her, "I cannot do it because I will sin to G-d." Meaning, Yosef understood that it is not sufficient to withstand temptation with the rationale of being ungrateful to his master because when one has a conflict of interest (despite the rationale) one is able to justify what he wants to do. Therefore Yosef concluded by saying "I will sin to G-d" where in that context there is room for justification.

The Torah empowered the Chachamim (The Rabbis) to promulgate fences to protect the Torah. All Rabbinic fences are to be adhered to as if they were decreed by the Torah itself. The Gemara in Tractate Shabbos relates a situation in which the Rabbis legislated a fence and would not reveal the reason for the legislation. The reason for this given by the Gemara is because of the caliber of the members of the community, they would feel that the concerns of the Rabbis had no relevance to them and therefore they would reject the Rabbinic fence. Whenever the Torah or the Rabbis reveal to us the rationale behind a prohibition, then we are susceptible to conflict of interest. When one has an understanding of the rationale behind the prohibition then he is able to reject it by saying that the concern has no relevance to his situation.

Since the Torah does not reveal the rationale for any of the mitzvos (Positive or Negative Commandments), one should not validate the mitzvos based on his own understanding of their purpose. But rather one should only see the Commandments of the Torah as doing the Will of Hashem. The moment one applies his own understating to the value of mitzvos it is only a matter of time before he will fail.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Current Events; History; Judaism; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Religion & Science; Theology
KEYWORDS: creation; gd; humanreason; mitzvot; torah
Some insights on Parashat Shofetim, this week's Torah portion.

This is only one section. To read other topics on the parashah click here.

1 posted on 08/24/2006 8:29:19 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator
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To: wideawake

You might possibly find this of interest.


2 posted on 08/24/2006 9:47:47 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Shofetim veshoterim titen-lekha bekhol she`areykha . . .)
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