Friday, February 20, 2009

MISHPATIM: 24/7

by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

It has been said that the value of the slavery experience of the Jewish people in Egypt, aside from the marked empathy for the stranger and the suffering of others, was to condition the people to a life of service. The word for slave in Hebrew, eved, is exactly the same word as servant. One would think there would be an entirely different word indicating the nuance between involuntary slavery and voluntary service. But in truth we were essentialy redeemed from slavery in Egypt. Redemption is a form of purchase. We transfered our loyalty from the human Pharaoh to the Divine Master of the Universe.

In Mishpatim we declare our willingness to serve G*d who redeemed us from slavery (avdut) and from the House of Bondage (beyt avadim). Na'aseh veNishma. We will do and we will study.
We do not wait to act until we have mastered the study. We act first, in faith in the goodness and the rightness of the request, even prior to fully understanding, knowing and comprehending.

And in which verse in the Torah do we as a people declare our fealty and loyalty to G*d and our willingness to observe the mitzvoth for all time? Exodus 24:7!

It reads: "He took the book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. They replied: we will do and obey (na'aseh venishma) all that G*d declared."

Now in every day colloquial English when we want to convey our readiness to be of service on a continual basis, at the drop of a hat, at any time, day or night, we say "24/7"- meaning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Can you imagine that the same verse which indicates our readiness to "do and obey" would appear exactly at chapter and verse 24/7!

Shabbat Shalom!
Good Shabbos!

© 2000-2009 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman
These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen ben Meir Yisrael Hakohen Melman, z"l
I was raised in the musar tradition of silence and meditative thoughtfulness, as were my father and grandfather before me.

I was born on the first day chol hamoed Sukkos, which is also the yahrzeit of both Rebbe Nachman and the Vilna Gaon.

http://seferchabibi.blogspot.com/2007/07/yahrzeit-of-my-father-27-tammuz.html
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506EEDC1630F93BA35754C0A9649C8B63

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)
Dedications are available.

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About Me

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I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!