Exodus: Perashat Ki Tissa (2 essays): Beyond Edifice /The Golden Calf and the Castration Complex

I. Beyond Edifice

Things have a past and a present, but only Gd is pure presence....

 A.J. Heschel, God in Search of Man pp 142

In weeks past, we have discussed the inherent failure of artistic endeavor as perceived by contemporary theorists and earlier Hassidic masters. Every building, beautiful or sacred as it may be, is on the one hand subject to critique as a result of its being a "finished product", and on the other hand, no matter how beautiful the edifice, it is also from some perspective also a barrier, a set of boundaries, a marked off perimeter. We have seen that in the Hassidic masters this problematic is identified with regard to the Mishkan, with use of a slightly different language, that of sin. Thus, we have seen how what is at first glance considered to be the holiest and highest potential religious creation is reduced to a continuous reminder of our mistakes and sins . However, where we in contemporary culture enjoy the pessimistic state of critique, is there an alternative presented in these same sources? Is there no way to overcome the innate tragedy of human activity, what we may deem, the "Edifice complex"?

While novel ideas regarding contemporary theory are generally presented in the essay form, in the Hassidic tradition these issues are discussed as part of exegesis on the perasha, the Midrash and Talmud. Thus, to find discussion of alternative modes of construction, we must first analyze a textual problem. In this week's perasha, which is centrally situated between the various repetitions of the various commands to construct the Mishkan, we find a curious proximity between subjects. There is a restatement of the command to construct all the sundry elements of the Mishkan, directed this time to the "architect", Bezalel, and his team. After this, there is a command to keep the Sabbath, not specifically linked to the surrounding passages, and then the sin of the golden calf is narrated.

There are those who link the Sabbath passage specifically to the subsequent golden calf episode, and I would like to quickly present one because of its surprising novelty. The Meor V'shemesh states that Shabbat is linked to the Mishkan because both have in common rectification (tikkun) of the sin of the golden calf- the tribute collected to build the Mishkan corrects the sin committed by the people's eagerness to contribute gold to make the idol, in other words, the Mishkan is a response to the material aspect of sin, while the Shabbat, which is intended primarily as a day of spiritual contemplation, rectifies the idolatrous intentions underlying the golden calf, as we are taught BT Shabbat 118: "He who keeps the Shabbat correctly, even if he worshipped idols as did the generation of Enosh, is forgiven". In contemporary jargon, we might say that the Mishkan serves as a praxis-tikkun, the Shabbat an ideology-tikkun. Let?s go even further with this textual connection.

The opening verses regarding Shabbat in this perasha read as follows: (Shemot 31:13)

"But (akh), my Sabbaths you must keep, for it is a sign between us for generations (l'dorotaychem)...And the people of Israel kept the Shabbat, creating of the Shabbat an eternal covenant throughout the generations (l'dorotam)..."

Rashi explains the connection to the previous section, the command to build the Mishkan, as follows:

Even though you are commanded to work on the Mishkan, don't even think about violating the Shabbat while constructing it. This is derived from the superfluous "ach", for which we have an exegetic teaching whereby "but" and "only" imply exceptions to the law being discussed, thus, here it teaches that work on the Mishkan is stopped for the Shabbat.  

In other words, these perashiot are linked in order to prioritize Shabbat over and above the Mishkan. The Ramban has a problem in midrashic formal logic with Rashi’s approach. If "buts and only" serve to exclude a circumstance from the law, then the law where the "akh" is found is the law diminished, hence, technically, the teaching seems to imply that Shabbat is abrogated for the sake of the Mishkan! The Ramban, however, instead sets the Shabbat farther above the Mishkan; he argues that the conjunction of these texts is to insist, with the emphatic word "akh", that while the Mishkan may be transient, Shabbat is eternal, and always to be observed, even in the absence of a centralized Temple. In other words, the 'akh' implies that even if the Mishkan were destroyed, Shabbat is still to be kept. Keeping in mind the analysis of previous weeks, emphasizing the space creating aspect of Temple construction, is the Seforno's choice of terminology, he states that "...if Shabbat is violated, then there is no place for the Mishkan...".

Shabbat then appers to serve as a precondition, or replacement, for spatial sanctity. Could this be the route to an alternative dwelling, to a dis-placed holiness, one that transcends the critique of edifice, as was discussed in perashat Terumah?

This is the explicit argument of the Degel Mahane Ephraim (DME). He begins by quoting the Baal Haturim, who note that the first letters of the phrase "et hashabbat L'dorotam" spell out the word "ohel", tent. Furthermore, the repeated hebrew term meaning "generations", dorotam, is repeatedly spelled in an incomplete fashion, lacking the letter "vav", allowing for the word to be read as "deerotam", from the infinitive "ladoor", to dwell, as in the modern Hebrew term "dirah", a flat. This implies, that the Shabbat is where the generations dwell, the Shabbat is the superior dwelling place, as opposed to the spatial sanctuary of the Mishkan. The DME adds that the word ohel, tent, is also to be found in the first letters of the phrase "ot hee l'olam", which literally means that the Shabbat serves a sign for eternity, that the Shabbat is eternally a covenant; to the DME, actually the Shabbat supercedes the Mishkan even as a dwelling place. We will argue that a sacred edifice built out of time, “temporal holiness” is preferable to a sacred  dimensional construct, “spatial holiness”.

The Meor Eynaim (ME) argues that this is Rashi’s reading as well. The ME sees in Rashi's reading a conscious choice of words in which indeed the 'akh', the "only", is intended to diminish, and in agreement with the Ramban, suggests a diminution of the Shabbat. The ME reads Rashi as implying that any physical activity, any act of construction, would serve to diminish Shabbat. Shabbat, as the Zohar teaches us, is a reflection of God's name, as it were, and is complete, perfect, without deficiency. Construction, on the other hand, is a sign of deficiency- one constructs because of a perceived lack, because one needs shelter or some other function of building. The construction of a physical, sacred edifice is thus,a miyut b'Shabbat, a diminution of the Shabbat; temporal holiness is superior to spatial holiness. (As a footnote, he adds an existential meditation: Isaiah 57 states that God “dwells” within the humble person. A person who needs nothing, who is cut off from desires, both dwells within and becomes the dwelling place of Godly perfection.)

In summary, spatial holiness, the state of dwelling in sacred space, such as the sanctuary of a Mishkan, is innately a deficient state, one subject to critique and barriers. The superior perfected state is that of “temporal holiness”, of dwelling in time, as described regarding the Shabbat. The Sefat Emet quoted in Perashat Terumah describes Gd’s original vision whereby the Torah would have been open to all without a Mishkan, accessible to all who desired transcendence in an unmediated manner, without boundaries, until the people sinned and through that sin revealed a need for mediated spirituality, walled off within the Mishkan. The Sefat Emet, when discussing Shabbat, explains the term "ot", sign, in a manner similar to that used is linguistics theory, that is, as sign versus symbol, with sign here meaning a direct manifestation, rather than a metaphor of something else. “Ot” to the Sefat Emet (Shabbat Shuva, year trn"d) is defined as an unmediated experience of the divine. Directly referring to the mishkan vs Shabbat issue, he states that Shabbat is a point of contact with the original concept of a divine dwelling, in continuous dialogue with the people, unmediated by barriers, which was Gd’s original vision prior to the sin of the golden calf.

The point then is that dwelling in time is superior to dwelling in space. A sacred object is fixed, it is what it is, and it is a unilateral movement on the part of the to relate to it, much as we experience a work of art. Sacred time, on the other hand, is in a relationship with us, changing as we change, moving forward as we move forward. Sacred objects remain unchanged as we grow, whereas sacred time implies continuous, linear growth. R. Zadok HaCohen of Lublin presents a reading, which read in this light now makes more sense, of the oft-quoted teaching in BT Shabbat 118: which states that “if Israel kept two Shabbatot, the Ultimate Redemption would be achieved”. R. Zadok asks, why two Shabbatot? He answers that two Shabbatot, instead of just one, are necessary because first a Shabbat must be experienced in order to truly understand the experience Shabbat; keeping the second one after the growth obtained in the first Shabbat, would then be utterly transformative. In R. Zadok’s dream notebook, printed at the end of the work Resisay Laylah, he explains this text again- that first Shabbat purifies from sin, allowing the second one to experienced in an entirely different manner, from a mindset that is liberated from sin and obstruction. Then, according to R. Zadok’s dream, there would be a third Shabbat, currently ineffable, beyond description,  because it would be made up of an experience no one could have had yet from a mindset never yet attained (as the Buddhists explain regarding nothingness, it can only be explained after it is achieved). In his dream, in the spiritually perfected world of Tikkun, the Shabbat would have a duration of three days (idea for contemplation-is there a potential message of future world harmony implicit here, where all the Sabbaths of the Abrahamic faiths are unified?). Thus the temporal sequence of the temporal experience  is constructive of an entirely different individual (or people) then having subsequent enhanced experiences. In summary, dwelling in space, spatial holiness, then, is an innately flawed experience, fixed and unchanging, as an icon or statue is, a dwelling in place, without movement. Temporal holiness, dwelling in time, is a spiritual journey that is only limited by how much we choose to grow in the relationship. Shabbat is our unmediated transformative challenge.

Heschel's argument regarding the advantage of holy time over holy object, as in his The Sabbath (contra Eliade's centrality of sacred object, axis mundi, etc.), is in perfect alignment with this set of readings by the Hassidic masters.  However, if we contemplate the potential meanings within the idea of  progressive transformative experience, we might begin to sense that these spatial and temporal forms of holiness are themselves only a vehicle, steps in a path to even greater spiritual growth and transformation. Perhaps it may dawn upon us that time, like fixed objects, like spatiality, that even time itself is corruptible and can be transcended. Sins, after all,  occur in time, and certainly one can experience unpleasant times (Borges, describing an ancestor: "like all men, he was given bad times in which to live"). The mystical thinkers of the Kabbalah recognized this sad truth. R. Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto, one of the great original thinkers of the Jewish mystical tradition, in his commentary to the Zoharic text called Arimit Yadi B'tzlotin, argues that time itself is transient. He reads the line in Kohelet 3:1 which reads (or sung by Pete Seeger and the Byrds), 'there is a season and time to every purpose under heaven' as a statement of scientific fact, taking the phrase "under heaven" as declaring that time itself is provisionally 'under heaven', that is, not eternal like heaven, but transient, let us say, the temporal is itself temporary. In mystical language, time, zeman, is numerically equivalent to the worlds of 'mah' and 'ben', which are the numerical symbols of the two lower universes (of the four in traditional Jewish mystical thought). Time does not exist beyond our material spheres, time is superceded in the supernal worlds.

What does this possibly mean, a world above time? JL Borges has a fantastic (in the actual sense of the word) essay, entitled 'A New Refutation of Time', in which he denies the linearity and contemporaneousness of time:

I deny, in an elevated number of instances, the successive; I deny, in an elevated number of instances, the contemporary as well. The lover who thinks 'While I was so happy, thinking of the fidelity of my love, she was deceiving me' deceives himself: If every state we experience is absolute, such happiness was not contemporary to the betrayal; the discovery of that betrayal is another state, which cannot modify the 'previous' ones, though it can modify their recollection. The misfortune of today is no more real than the happiness of the past. I shall seek a more concrete example. In the first part of August, 1824, Captain Isadoro Suarez, at the head of a squadron of Peruvian Hussars, decided the victory of Junin; in the first part of August, 1824, De Quincy published a diatribe against Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre; these events were not contemporary (they are now), since the two men died- one in the city of Montevideo, the other in Edinburgh- without knowing anything about each other? Each moment is autonomous? Each moment we live exists, but not their imaginary combination.

Again, Borges, in his story 'Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' alludes to this conception, arguing that

…all men, in the vertiginous moment of coitus, are the same man. All men who repeat a line from Shakespeare, are William Shakespeare…

Without needing to resort to complex mathematics and physics, from a cognitive point of view we have all had that sense that there are greater and lesser moments in our lives and in the course of history, that resonate for each one of us in a manner beyond the mere facticity of time.

Thus, in light of all we've seen in this week's perasha, we can posit a thought experiment one step beyond that of  Nietzche's "eternal return". Nietzche argued that we would choose to live our lives differently if we perceived our actions as being repeated endlessly through infinity. I would suggest that perhaps all our ideas of reward and punishment beyond the crassness of the physical, of spiritual growth unlimited by the vicissitudes of time or space; all these ideas may be conceptualized if we postulate a world constructed from time. That is, that which we have lived, that which we have chosen and prioritized, those moments may be viewed as  the building blocks of another type of existence. Perhaps we are creating, with every positive moment lived, a new kind of dwelling. The edifice, for example, that we construct out of our experience of Shabbat, the holy moments at the table with our families, in prayer, in lofty thought- let us posit that these and all beautiful moments experienced by the totality of consciousness may represent the building blocks for the transformation of our world into a more beautiful world, one literally "built out of time". This may explain why the Sabbath is far more important than the Mishkan- for the Sabbath experience, as we've seen, as in the first letters of 'ot he l'olam', spelling out 'ohel', “dwelling”, may perhaps represent the building blocks of a far superior existence, a timeless existence beyond in a state of ineffable beauty peace and joy.

Mark H Kirschbaum

 

II. The Golden Calf and the Castration Complex

There are several provocative ideas I will attempt to develop in the course of this week's reading on perashat Ki Tisa. It is an extremely rich and problematic text, on its own and in connection with the surrounding perashiyot, thus I will try to stay on the course I've charted over the last few weeks, though there are some new themes I guess I will pick up at another time, say next year. But first, in the spirit of never missing good material no matter where you find it, I would like to present a relevant concept from the historian Simon Schama, in his The Embarrassment of Riches, on the Dutch golden age. I even managed to track down a web copy of the painting under discussion, so that you can all see it :

http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=4366386

Schama deals with the assumption of the Hebraic history as a model for the destiny of the new Dutch nation. Here begins the edited quote, from pages 116- 120:

It is, then, all the more extraordinary that the most striking instance of Mosaic iconography at the heart of Amsterdam's town hall, should have represented, not the ascendancy of the Calvinist zealots, but the polemical ingenuity of their pliant adversaries in the Amsterdam patriciate. Ferdinand Bol's Moses with the Tablets of Law (1661-62) is best known to art historians as the stilted and ungainly alternative to what might have been one of Rembrandt's most powerful late history paintings, executed in 1659, but what passes for second rate may qualify as first rate historical evidence, and Bol's Moses, in all its histrionic glory provides a grandiloquent demonstration of how the Exodus scripture had become a battleground for disputing views of the relationship between church and state. (the book then continues to describe the tense situation between the severe Calvinist clergy linked with the Orange loyalists versus the humanist magistrates).it was against this background that the moderate regents, savoring the magnificence of their new town hall, decided to offer an iconographic reproof to theocracy where it most counted: in their seat of law. Uytenbogaert had used the Old Testament to insist on the division of governance between lay and spititual spheres, with the former ultimately responsible for the administration of the commonwealth. It had been Moses, not Aaron, he argued, who had been awarded the godly leadership of the Children of Israel, and after Moses' death, that leadership had passed first to judges and then to kings. The priests and prophets had served as the moral consciences of the state, set apart in a special caste, but never entrusted with the role of government. The mantelpiece painting for the Chamber of the Magistrates (the painting by Bol) was to show the one occasion when government had been placed in the hands of the priests, with demonstrably calamitous consequences. Bol's Moses descends from Mount Sinai with the tablets of the law in his arms, only to witness the scenes of profane iniquity and chaos in the camp of the Israelites. Acknowledging their sins, they kneel before him for forgiveness- the figure in left profile, perhaps dressed as to embody the contrition of the priestly caste?

I will not go any further with this, only to point out that there is a somewhat forgotten work which makes this very argument, called Mishpat Hamelucha B'Yisrael, by R. Shimon Federbush, put out by Mossad Harav Kook. Federbush argues that all through Jewish history there was a separation between the religious and the civil lawmakers, the Sanhedrin and the priesthood. Perhaps this work needs to be revived and translated into English. Perhaps we need to think about this kind of seperation today.

Now, back to our reading for this week. Over the past few weeks, in dealing with the repetition of the Mishkan narrative, we discussed the idea of boundaries, of distance introduced as a result of the sin. The Mishkan structure itself, and the garments of the priests, act as signifiers and at the same times as means of overcoming, the boundaries and distance introduced by the sin of the golden calf. R. Zadok Hacohen follows this approach, but with an interesting twist, which would be incredibly radical if it wasn't in the Talmud (BT Nedarim 22: )

"If it weren't for the sin of the Golden Calf, the Jews would only have received the Five Books of the Torah and the Book of Yehoshuah".

It was only with the second set of Luhot that we also received the Oral law. He interprets this to mean that had there not been the distance introduced, our relation with the Torah text would have been an unmediated one, that would not have required the supplemental hermeneutics of the commentaries and supercommentaries familiar to the student of Jewish studies. Our understanding of the Torah would have been akin to what the Rambam describes of Adam before the sin (this similarity is explicit in R. Zadok, as we will see at the very end of this piece), that he would have had a pure objective relationship with Gd unblurred by subjectivity (which is why the forbidden Tree was known as that of "knowledge of good and bad" which are purely subjective categories, as opposed to the tree of Life, which he reads as the empirical, objective understanding, as in science (science as a medieval thinker would have seen it, not the way we would understand it today post Husserl, etc)).

The question, then, is, what is it about the golden calf that links specifically to issues of speech and understanding? I would like to suggest, by a route that begins with the Me'or V'shemesh, who talks of the golden calf as springing from the human need for authority, that is to say, the golden calf as an alternate representation of yir'ah, authority, to replace Moshe was desired by the people, follows with a summary of some core priniples of Lacan, specifically his "desire of the mother" and "name of the father" as representing symbolic representation versus the distance imposed by language, and back through R. Zadokk to why the book of Yehoshua was part of the text that was to be initially given.

The Meor V'shemesh has difficulty comprehending how a generation that experienced what it experienced could lapse so crudely into idolatry of the most primitive sort. What was it that the people wanted from this idol? His response is that it wasn't a "god" they were looking for at all, but rather an authority figure. In essence, they understood that the whole point of the exodus and the ensuing commandments was to reach a stage of awe, of recognition of Gd's greatness and grandeur, referred to in the classical literature as "yirat haromemut". This is the highest level of understanding recognized in the kabbalistic literature, higher than love. For example, in the prayerbook of R. Shalom Sharabi, the meditative introduction is always "b'dichilu u'richimu, u'richimu v'dichilu", "with awe and love, with love and awe", as increasing levels in mystical consciousness rise through fear, (for example, of punishment) to love, then to a higher form of love, to a state of reverent awe (not related to punishment). However, the route which the people took toward achieving this state was by analogy to Moshe. When Moshe appeared in public, as in Shemot 34:30, the people feared to approach him. So through him it was expedient to analogize the requisite awe for Gd. This is his interesting reading of the Talmudic teaching in Berachot 33:, from the verse in Devarim 10:12- What does Gd require from one, only to fear Gd! The Talmud brings texts which show just what a lofty thing this is, but they explain, to Moshe it is a small thing (ie, "only" to fear Gd). The Meor V'Shemesh explains, that in the presence of Moshe it is a small thing, because from the awe one has in Moshe's presence, it was easy to extrapolate the awe one must have before Gd. So in essence, what the people wanted when they feared that Moshe was dead on Sinai, was a new metaphor for fear, a new "authority figure" which would keep them in a state of awe. This what what they demanded from Aharon, and what they got was the golden calf.

What struck me about this reading was the relationship to the ensuing "play" that the text describes once the golden calf was presented to the people. If it was something to fear they were seeking, why was the people's response upon making this calf to "vayakumu l'tsachek", "they got up to party" of 32:6? I suggest that there is an insight in this teaching that resonates with some core ideas of Jacques Lacan, particularly his emendation of Freud's Oedipus/castration complex model, which I will attempt to summarize now. I will also attempt to show how this ties into the teaching we began with of R. Zadok Hacohen of Lublin, which suggested that the supplementary hermeneutics of the Oral Law were necessitated by the failure revealed in the golden calf debacle.

Lacan (following Melanie Klein) explains how at birth, the infant exists in a perceived state of totality with his needs and surroundings. There is no differentiation between the infant and his hunger, his mother, the breast that feeds him, and his sense of satiety. These are all within him, so to speak. Somewhere down the line, at about six months, the child begins to realise that he is a separate entity, unified in his individual person. This is accomplished by what Lacan calls the mirror stage. The child sees his reflection in the mirror, and realises that the image he sees is his individuated being. What is critical for us, here, is that in this model the attainment of individuation is always external, in that what the child sees is a reflected, objectified image, rather than some total complete entity. That image is "me", the child learns. In fact, this world, in which the individual really only comes to know his/herself by virtue of a reflection in others, this world, which Lacan refers to as L'Imaginaire, is also recognized as being in some way false. The me the child knows is an external image, as opposed to 'la reelle', the total uncategorized Real that was present before. What we are, what we live, is a state which is primary in the other, the way we are reflected in society, the way we teach ourselves to think of ourselves based on the demands of those around us, parents, friends, teachers, etc. As Lacan states in "The Four Fundamental Concepts": "Really, is there not something here more profound than La Rochefoucauld's remark that few would experience love if they had not had its ways and means explained to them?" All these behaviour patterns are the result of our self perception which is derived from seeing ourselves reflected in the other. However, the baby, when he sees himself in the mirror, always laughs. That is because, there is a kind of dialectic in process. On the one hand, one is suddenly cut off from the Real, this state of self based unity with the surroundings, but on the other hand, the infant is now an individual, a self among others. Now Lacan reads the Oedipal/castration model of Freud in a non-sexual derived manner, and as this is relevant, I will attempt another oversimplified explanation (it is virtually impossible to try to read Lacan without knowing already what he is trying to say, much like the example of a while ago of translating tefillin as phylacteries, but he has an interesting vantage point that I think may be useful). The attainment of individuality comes at a cost of the Real, and the return to this real, which is intimately connected to the mother, is at the root of desire, that sense that there is more to existence than what we are conscious of. The world makes demands on "us", yet we feel that somehow those demands are not "us". The "us" we still residually know of ourselves from before the mirror stage, this presymbolic world is linked to the mother, and specifically to her capacity to create and to feed. This Lacan calls the "desir de la mere", the desire of the mother (or for the mother). What cuts us off, so to speak, from this dreamy presymbolic Real, is "le nom du pere", the name of the Father, the categorized signifying world of Language. Once there is language, we are cut off (hence the castration) from the ineffable, that which is "prior" to language. So, in summary, our formation as individuals is linked from the outset to a sense of loss, at the root of our encounter with the real, which is why "desire" can never be filled, that there is a continual searching for something "beyond", that cannot be articulated, cannot be satisfied. Yet, to remain intact as individuals, we require the authoritative presence of the Father. The way we experience this encounter with the real (Lacan borrows a term from Aristotle and labels this "tuche"), at every developmental stage, is what determines our health or neurosis.

I would suggest that reading in this manner, we can tie together the teachings summarized above. The people, newly released from the unindividuated state of slavery, still crave the presence of an authority figure, the Name of the Father. When Moshe appeared to tarry, there was a loss of identity, of individuation. Perhaps, this is also symbolized in the Midrashim in which they threw the gold into the fire which then came out as a calf, a Midrash which contains within it several metaphors of birth and creation, as well as a metaphor of childishness (a calf rather than a full grown cow or bull). However, this maladaptive encounter with the real (reflected in the excess of "play", the "vayakumu l'tzachek"), was "neurotic", so to speak. The only cure for it is through the internalization of the true authority figure, that of Gd manifested to the nation as language, not an external "leader" but an internalized set of decisions to live a life with guidelines, in this case, of course, the commandments and Torah.

This brings us back to R. Zadok Hacohen's suggestion that the corpus of Torah would have been far shorter without the sin of the calf. The Talmud specifically links the sin to the Oral Law, the law of language rather than text. Perhaps the idea is that had without this disruptive event in development, had normal development proceded without the neurotic challenge, then our encounter with the normal state of individuation, i.e. the attainment of language, would have been healthier. In fact, in his work Mahshevet Harutz, chapter 16, R. Zadok explains this Talmudic teaching by linking it to yet an earlier failure of this sort, the sin of Adam as described in Bereishit. He says that initially, Adam could have transformed the whole world right at the outset had he not succumbed to his "desire" and disobeyed the "word". The therapy for this failure was meant to be accomplished at Sinai. There, the word could have been properly encountered by the people's reception of the Written Law, that is, the five books of Moshe, along with the book of  Joshua, which, dealing as it does with boundaries (of the Land of Israel), which would have corrected the local failure of Adam and Eve as an alternative locale, another set of boundaries (in a sort of metaphorical transferance) for the Garden of Eden. However, due to the failure of the encounter as seen in the golden calf episode, the second giving of the Torah demonstrated a need for a more gradual route to the written word, via the more extensive (hence also more distant) Oral Law.

In short, until humankind learns to internalize its own best interests, as long as there are border/boundary disputes at the personal and national levels,  there remains a need for constant direction and guidance...

Mark H. Kirschbaum, MD
Nevada Cancer Institute

Mark H. Kirschbaum, MD, is a hematology and cancer specialist based in Duarte, CA.
 
tags: Torah Commentary   
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