Chanuka Dvar Torah – Zeidim BeYad Oskei Toratecha and Love

In Shmoneh Esrei after Modim on Chanuka, we have the Al Hanisim… Bimei Matisyahu portion to say. In there we say that Hashem gave victory to the exact opposite of the other party. He gave the heroes to the weak, the many to the few, the wicked to the rightous, and the Zeidim (Tziddukim) to the Oskei Toratecha (the Torah-observant).

Question: weren’t the Tziddukim, a Jewish sect, Torah-observant with respect to the written law? Sure, they didn’t agree with Rabbinic law, but neither did the majority of Israel at the time. Also, what about the concept of Shivim Panim LaTorah? If there are 70 pathways to Torah, who cares if one does it via Rabbinic law – much of which is comprised of Syagim (gates) to prevent one from violating a Torah law? Who is to say that they weren’t Torah observant? The whole concept of even questioning the written Torah came much later with the Reform movement in Germany (source: somewhere in Rabbi Berel Wein’s Triumph of Survival – http://www.rabbiwein.com/Triumph-of-Survival-brBook-P15.html)!

Here’s my answer: The essence of Torah is love. Rabbi Akiva summed it up as Veahavta Lereicha Kamocha – love your fellow as yourself. Hillel also said more or less the same thing to a would-be convert in that Kol Torah Kulo is “Don’t do to another what you wouldn’t want another to do to you. The rest is commentary. Go learn.”

Getting into the Metaphysical

The Torah is light (Hora-ah – ohr) and meant to get us closer to Gd. Going onto the metaphysical side of things, we know of this concept since at Maamad Har Sinai we literally died – twice – and came back to life. We are taught that we learned the entire Torah twice, each one with an emphasis on the first and second commandments respectively. After the second time, we begged Moshe to transmit the rest of the Torah to us as our limited brains couldn’t handle the immense information that was being transmitted to us instantly. Our brains – wonderful devices that they are – are very limited in that we can only think in a linear manner and process information one at a time. That said, we subconsciously “knew” was was just experienced. When Moshe retaught us the Torah, we subconsciously “knew” that what he was transmitting was the truth that we were able to experience in our spiritual form, but not our physical form. In the end, we knew that it was all about love.

Today, thanks to the wonderful advances of medical technology, there are thousands of personal life after death testimonies while surgery is performed causing the patient to be clinically dead for a period of time, only to wake up. Each person describes more or less the same experience – leaving the body, seeing a dark tunnel, and a warm, loving, wonderful light essence enveloping that person, making that person want to stay and not leave. That person can at the same time, thanks to that light, see everything, including who is operating on him/her, who is making mistakes during surgery, etc. That person wakes up, asks why “decision X” was made, leaving doctors baffled as to how that person knew what was going on the whole time! This light also makes one feel loved, that one can never do any wrong and is just plain awesome.

Conclusion

That is what the Torah is trying to get us at. By manifesting this love to everyone and everything, and trying to save lives rather than killing people, that person is being MeAsek BaTorah. All the Miderabbanans are helping that person get closer to Hashem by getting us to manifest this Gdly love. However, by reporting to the higher Syrian Greek authorities on illegal actions done by “real” Torah-observant people, thereby causing more harm than good by getting them arrested, tortured and even killed, that makes one not MeAsek BaTorah. That person sees all Rabbis as a bunch of closed-minded fanatics, fails to see the larger picture and doesn’t become better for learning/doing that Torah that s/he is practicing.

Today, you have tons of people not “getting it.” Torah is love, but 99% of frum Jews don’t see that! Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein recently touched on that concept in that Yeshivos today are teaching kids that yiddishkeit is laws, yiddishkeit is serious, etc. Gd forbid that they should teach that the Torah is beautiful! This, he says, is Yavan (Greece)!

What I think the last phrase is saying, therefore, is that the way we defeat Greek culture every day is to “feel the love.” Baruch Hashem, I feel it when I light my Menorah, seeing the glow of the flames contrast with the pitch black on the outside, singing Chanuka songs, having Latkes and Sufganiyot, playing Dreidel, exchanging gifts and hugs with my family, and saying Hallel during Shacharis which makes the atmosphere feel more Yomtov-dike. All that I just mentioned, by the way, are Miderabbanan and minhag – not strictly written Torah. Think about that for a minute.

Bottom-line, if you want to be MeAsek BaTorah, learn to love first. Happy Chanuka!

Post By Rafael (Rafi) Hecht (399 Posts)

Rafi Hecht is a leading SEO Consultant and Web Programmer, employed full-time at iRISEmedia.com, an online marketing company, and currently residing in Toronto. He has been in the IT workforce since 2003, and has focused on Search Engine Optimization and Web programming since 2007. He also is a devoted husband and father. His personal blog can be found at http://blog.rafihecht.com.

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  • Avrohom Becker

    Interesting take!

    I agree with you,that those who practice only the written side of things,are very closed off. They are only concerned with the whole,the black and white,and the laws themselves. In there worldview,there are only actions,results,and bottom lines.

    They see the details of life through the surface alone.
    They see each of those details as separate.

    Now don’t get me wrong.

    The black and white is very important.
    The action is the main thing.

    After all,we accepted the Torah under the stipulations that we will do first,and then hear.

    The black and white helps us to identify ourselves as a whole.
    Without the black and white,our identities would become stuck within a world of singularity and potential.

    We would be one,but without detail.

    The details of our oneness and identity,would become stuck within the concept of that oneness and identity. The details would become stuck in potential.

    Their oneness would be expressed for them.
    They would have no choice in the matter.
    They would have no way to reject.

    They would be one,but would have no way of knowing it.

    ‘Hey I am one.

    How am I supposed to see that I am one,if there is no separation between concept and detail?

    How am I supposed to express that oneness?

    This infinite light is expressing oneness,but I have no idea what that even means.

    I have no way to process this light of infinity.
    It just goes on endlessly.
    I need a finite channel to express it through.’

    • Avrohom Becker

      Continued:

      The rules show us the in’s and outs of how we work.
      They show us how we are one,but this time,in detail.
      They are our instruction manual.

      As a whole,the laws apply to each and every person in an equal manner. You are whole,because the system and body of laws allow you to see your connection to something outside of you.

      Before rules-I am being identified as one,but have no relation to that whatsoever.

      After rules-I am whole.

      All of these parts come together to form the whole that is me.
      This is my body.
      This is my whole.

      Before rules-I am a Jew

      After rules-This is what a Jew does.
      This is a Jews body.
      This is a Jew in detail.

      • Avrohom Becker

        Continued:

        However,while the black and white,while the body and system as a whole,while the action,results,and bottom line are all important,that’s not all there is to it.

        They may be allowing us to identify with our whole,but not with the individual parts of our whole.

        The individual parts of that whole are being forced to conform to their identity as a whole. They are individuals through their identification alone. They have no say in the matter. They have no choice to reject.

        You see,we are not just one due to being whole.

        We are also one,due to being individual parts of that whole,as well.

        Our individuality allows us to see how that whole applies to each and every part in their own right. It allows that whole to become processed,chewed,and digested by its parts. This processing,chewing,and digesting,allows that whole to penetrate through its individual parts.

        It gives that whole an identity of its own.
        That whole can now identify itself through its parts.

        It is no longer whole through identification alone. It is now also whole through being processed,chewed,and digested by all the parts which make up the body of its whole to begin with.

        It also gives the parts an identity to their whole.
        They are no longer individuals through identification alone.

        They can now see themselves as individual parts of that whole. They can now see what they add towards the whole. They can now see that without them,their would be no whole to begin with. The whole needs their unique function. They reveal the whole through their unique nature,talents,and level. They reveal the whole through their unique thoughts,beliefs,perceptions,emotions,and environments.

        • Avrohom Becker

          Continued:

          This is why that it’s not enough to just tell people what to do.

          It’s not enough to just read books and instruction manuals.

          Its one thing to know how something works as a whole.

          Its one thing to know how things are SUPPOSED to work.

          It’s a whole other thing to experience how that whole works through its individual parts and environment.

          It doesn’t just work that way because somebody says so.

          It doesn’t just work that way because it’s supposed to.

          It doesn’t just work that way because it says so inside of the instruction manual.

          You need to also know how each of those parts work separately,as separate parts of that whole.

          They have their own unique needs.
          They have their own unique nature and talents.

          They have their own unique processors.
          They have their own unique hard drives.
          They have their own unique thoughts,beliefs,and perceptions.

          They have their own unique emotions.
          They have their own unique environments.

          • Avrohom Becker

            Continued:

            They also come equipped with the ability TO CHOOSE for themselves.

            They are INDIVIDUALS after all.

            Therefore,you could process the whole through its parts,and still get rejected.

            What happens when you do a ton of damage to the individual parts of your body’s whole?

            What happens you don’t respect the individuality of the body’s unique parts?

            It loses its connection.
            It becomes diseased.
            It gets a virus.

            That virus spreads to the rest of the body as well.

            It can diseased to the point,that it can longer receive help from inside the system.

            It has no more relation to that system.

            It needs to be allowed to disassociate and purge itself from the system.

            It needs to start over anew.

          • Avrohom Becker

            How is it able to do that?

            One might think that it can only connect through the system ands body of rules alone.

            It is able to do so,because in ESSENCE we are connected regardless!

            In ESSENCE,we are connected through Hashem’s choice!

            In ESSENCE,we are connected just by virtue of identity alone!

            In ESSENCE,we are connected just by virtue of being Hashem’s children!

            It doesn’t depend upon doing Mitzvos.
            It doesn’t depend upon doing each Mitzvah by the book.

            It’s not about perfection!
            It’s not about obedience!

            If Hashem wanted pure obedience,he would have made us all either angels or Tzadikim.

            The goal is to process the Torah through our own thoughts,beliefs,perceptions,understanding,emotions,environments,and CHOICES!

            The goal is to chew and digest!
            The goal is to live,feel,and experience!

            The goal is to make the Torah become OUR OWN!

            Anything less than that is a limited connection.
            Anything less than that is not coming from within ourselves.

            Anything less than that is external.

            Hashem still wants you in the picture,regardless of what you’ve done,and regardless of how much you’ve messed up.

            Even more important than those details,is YOU.

            The whole purpose of those details is so that he can share himself with you in the first place.

            Hashem cares more about YOU than having his Mitzvos done to its utmost perfection.

            Its not about Perfection!

            It’s about YOU!

            Hashem cannot do it without YOU in the picture.

          • Avrohom Becker

            Continued:

            Yes,self-sacrifice is important,but not to the point of complete destruction.

            Those who are lacking a true identity,who have been raised in a closed off and restricted environment,who were required to just push themselves off to the side,who weren’t allowed to express any thought,idea,opinion,or emotion of their own,who had to close themselves off to such an extent,that they were forced to become numb to their own tastes,desires,opinions,emotions,and opinions,who had to close themselves off to such an extent,that they were forced to become numb to their own independence and freedom of choice,may need to disassociate themselves from their previous situation.

            Those who,as a result of the above,allow people to walk all over them,don’t know how to take a stand,don’t know how to say no,don’t know who it is they are,and don’t know what it is they want,may need to first become re-aquainted with their inner-self.

            They may need to start putting their own needs above others.

            They may need to start doing things because they want to,and enjoy them.

            They may need to do so until they can get themselves back to their point of center.

            However,those that do so should be cautious of going over to the other extreme. They should try to find a proper balance. This balance may have to be in favor of themselves.

  • Guest

    Continued:

    The rules show us the in’s and outs of how we work.
    They show us how we are one,but this time,in detail.
    They are our instruction manual.

    As a whole,the laws apply to each and every person in an equal manner. You are whole,because the system and body of laws allow you to see your connection to something outside of you.

    Before rules-I am being identified as one,but have no relation to that whatsoever.

    After rules-I am whole.

    All of these parts come together to form the whole that is me.
    This is my body.
    This is my whole.

    Before rules-I am a Jew

    After rules-This is what a Jew does.
    This is a Jews body.
    This is a Jew in detail.

    • Avrohom Becker

      Rafi,this was posted by mistake. You can get rid of this one.