Sunday, 15 May 2011

What is Your Torah? Part One

Boker Tov:
A Hasidic Rabbi once went to visit his friend. His friend studied while his child cried in the next room. The Rabbi asked him "Don't you hear your child? Why don't you go to him?" His friend, emerging from the reverie of learning, said "You know, I get so immersed in the intricacy and beauty of Torah that I tune out the world." The Rabbi admonished him, "If your Torah makes you neglect the cry of a child, then your Torah is no Torah."



The Torah.
Most people when they think of Torah, this of the first five books of the Bible, The Law given to Moses to give to the Nation of Isreal.
While true, Torah also means The Teaching of G-d, The Word of G-d. It means Command, Commandments. It is the first five books, but it is also all of the Bible.
The Torah  is the Tree of Life and a Light to our path. The Torah is as sweet as honey and a balm to those who are need of healing. The Torah teaches us how to live, how to treat others as well as The Holy One's love letter to us.
But how often is Torah neglected? How many who claim to love G-d, not go to His House to ear His Torah? How many fail to sit at the feet of a teacher and learn? How many bibles sit on bedsides and coffee tbales unread?
The beauty of Torah. So yes, I have gotten lost in her....and then found myself running about, because I have twenty minutes to get ready for work!
That isn't being holy...that was a misuse of my time.
Torah drives us to do better, be better, treat our family, friends and co-workers in a lovely, loving matter.

 But Torah can be misused as well. As the story above, child's cry went unheard because its father was studying Torah. How many cries of children, husbands and wives, mother and fathers go unheard because we are "studying" "praying". How many neighour needs go unmet because we are hurrying to the House of G-d, to prayer, to Bible study. 
 If we are beating others over the head with its teaching, if we are pounding the desk or table with her as we judge others, then our torah is not Torah. 
 If we are so busy praying and studying that our wives, husbands, parents, children are neglected, that we tune out the needs of our neighours, then our torah isn't Torah.
Torah leads us to a life of love and good deeds. It leads us to shine forth the Light of the Holy One onto a darken world. It leads us to share our shabbat table as well as the beauty of Torah.
Some of my favorite stories is of rabbis, pastors and teachers who have been late for services because they stopped to help change a tire, stopped with supper for a sick neighour or was helping their daughter with her math homework. A minister who sweeps the church floor, the rabbi who deliver meals on wheels. A family who invites to their table the family of a soldier serving in Iraq.
That's Torah.







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