mesorah
mesorah

mesorah (2)

Sunday, 07 October 2012 12:04

honing in

Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-smellrosesRabbi Yaakov said, one who is walking along the road and is studying [Torah], and then interrupts his studies and says, 'How beautiful is this tree! How beautiful is this plowed field!', the Scripture considers it as if he is liable for his life. -- M. Avot 3:9

This is a somewhat unusual mishna. After all, aren’t we supposed to say berachot over various features of nature? Were not both the Torah and nature given to us? The classical interpretation of this mishna is that we are being told that the most awesome work of God is the Torah itself. Unlike a regular tree of the field, the Torah is an eytz chayyim—a tree of life. It can be argued that this mishna is yet another expression of the sages’ view that Torah learning is the supreme act of Jewish devotion to God. However, I would further argue that there is another lesson being taught to us here as well.

Sunday, 08 July 2012 20:50

finding concentration

Written by rebbetzin malkah

Rabban Gamliel said, "All my days have I grown up among the wise and I have not found anything better for a man (literally, “better for the body”) than silence."  --Pirke Avot 1:17

Member Login

Login to access podcasts, special content, discussion forums and user blogs.