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So many people have questions in the Torah and keeping its laws. So many laws may feel outdated, hard to relate to. Why are the laws of Shabbat/Holiday so restricting? Why do people living out of Israel need to keep two days of holiday? How do you want me to keep a Torah that I don’t understand? Some are just afraid of asking these questions, as if for asking such questions, people could think that they are entertaining thoughts of the Reform and Conservative…

We keep two days of Yom Tov, out of Israel, even though it does not make sense today.  The Jewish calendar, the days of Rosh Hodesh and the days of Holiday, are already precalculated, and set in stone, so there is no reason to have two days. Still, the Minhag is to keep two days, as it was inaugurated.  We have never had a group of rabbis as great in number and in wisdom – as those who inaugurated the law – who could discontinue it. Shabbat and Holiday is long, because the day is long, and G-d wants us to celebrate the Shabbat and holiday, to connect to him. If the day feels long, it makes us realize how many things in our lives distract us and prevent us from maximizing our days.

Everything in Judaism has reasons, but that is not why we keep it. Torah was given in the desert, and not in Israel, because the Torah, and all of its laws, is one big challenge of faith. Therefore, it was given in a place where we were totally reliant on G-d – in the desert, in a place with no food or drink for 3 million people. This is what we bless G-d in our morning prayers, asking for being able to relate to His Torah, in the merit of the faith of our Ancestors. בעבור אבותינו שבטחו בך. In the sake of our Ancestors, who faithfully followed G-d through the desert… Wherever we are, contrary to how it looks on the surface, we are totally reliant on G-d. So we ask G-d to grant us the ability to learn, listen, understand and follow His Torah, in that merit of faith! In the merit of our Forefathers, who trusted in You, and who accepted a Torah of faith, חקי חיים, a Torah that the reason of its laws, cannot be truly entirely fathomed, as all of the 613 laws of the Torah, are considered חק, laws that we can’t understand.

There are different terminologies of grasping the Torah, used in the blessing/prayer, להבין להשכיל לשמוע ללמוד . The word להשכיל  means to understand things through a parable that are not explainable, without a Mashal, a parable. What is so interesting, is, that the order of the prayer, is that we need the Mashal, להשכיל  before we actually learn and teach, ללמוד וללמד.  Because the whole Torah, all of its Mitzvoth, sometimes don’t make sense, until we can understand it with parables like Shir Hashirim. Shir Hashirim is the love song between G-d and His people, and that explains why and how, the laws of the Torah are also laws of the relationship with G-d. The 613 are not guidelines, but ways to connect to G-d.

The whole Torah is telling you that the world you live in, the world that makes sense to you through your five senses, is not the reality. The world you experience can be compared to a 120-year experience of wearing Virtual Reality glasses. After 120 years, those Virtual Reality glasses are taken off, and your soul realizes that all along, the Torah was right, and not your five senses. You did not have to work for your food, it was coming to you anyway, as we say in the first blessing of Birkat Hamazon, and how G-d proved that, for forty years in the desert. According to the Torah, the war is being fought not only by the soldiers, but by the Torah that is being learned all over the world, especially in Israel  אֶ֚לֶף לַמַּטֶּ֔ה אֶ֖לֶף לַמַּטֶּ֑ה According to the Torah, the whole reason why we are fighting for our existence is so that we can continue to learn Torah   עֹ֭מְדוֹת הָי֣וּ רַגְלֵ֑ינוּ בִּ֝שְׁעָרַ֗יִךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם   Rashi explains עומדות היו רגלינו – במלחמה בכל מקום בשביל שעריך ירושלים שעוסקין בהן בתורה: How does that make sense? G-d made the Jews an indestructible nation; He gave us eternity, because His Torah and Judaism are eternal and indestructible, just like G-d is. G-d said, in the very first word of the Ten Commandments אנכי, which the Talmud teaches us, means, אנא נפשא כתבית יהבית, I, Myself, wrote it and gave it!  The Torah is called אורייתא, it is light, because we are all living in the dark.

Our Rabbis tell us, that in the World to Come, things are flipped around. The ones who are here, in this world, that look like they have a great Olam Haba, don’t necessarily have the Olam Haba we think they have. Once someone gets honor for the good things he does, this diminishes greatly his reward in the next world. Once someone says something bad about someone else, the one who was spoken about gets all the merits of the one who spoke about him, and all the sins of the one who was spoken about, goes to the account of the one who spoke negatively.  Torah learning and supporting Torah, is very heavyweight in the Next World. There are seven Mitzvoth that are Heavyweight in the next world, that are worth 613 mitzvoth: Milah, Tzizit, Tzedakah, Shabbat, Torah study, Living in Israel, not serving idols, and, according to some opinions, the Mitzvah of Teshuva.

Your greatest test in life, is to believe that the world you experience with your five senses, is not the real world that you are in. A Tzaddik is judged by how much faith he had,  וְצַדִּ֖יק בֶּאֱמוּנָת֥וֹ יִחְיֶֽה, because it is not the deeds and actions alone, that make a man great. It is man’s perception of relationship with G-d and how the mitzvoth bring him closer, and aveirot make him further from G-d, that a person will be judged for, in the world to come.

All the anti-Torah things you experience are just tests. Only when you understand that G-d created the world that you live in, and anything that is not in line with the Torah in the world you live in, is created by G-d just to challenge you. When you rise to the challenge, you become the legend that you can become, the legend of being G-d’s knight in His World. When you look at all the pleasures of life, in ways, of how you can elevate them to something meaningful and spiritual, you are seeing things from a Torah perspective.

The whole Torah, is one big test of faith, חקי חיים! We say, והאר עינינו בתורתך, we ask G-d to light up our eyes with His Torah. As the passuk says,  גַּל־עֵינַ֥י וְאַבִּ֑יטָה נִ֝פְלָא֗וֹת מִתּוֹרָתֶֽךָ  Unveil my eyes, that I may perceive wonders from Your Torah! This is why G-d created VR goggles, to teach us this Mashal, that everything we see is just “virtual reality”. If we want to see correctly, we need to ask our Rabbis, who can see things from a Torah perspective.

About the author, Yosef

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