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Shabbat Parashat Bereishit | 5769

Excerpts from the Introduction to Ein Ayah part V

Ein Ayah

While I expanded on the ideas of Chazal in my commentary, I did not take them too far from their simple meaning, especially in regard to things that touch upon the foundations of Torah and ethics. This is because the right result will emerge only when we have the open (expanded) and closed (literal) elements of a statement complement each other. We can find the open statement only when the closed statement finds its rightful place, which is a result of the general and specific form of the words of Chazal and of the Torah.

Closed statements teach practical Torah regarding the different mitzvot and statutes. Only when these are observed literally can we open the gates of enlightening, expanded ideas of the open statement. Unfortunately, our people have become guilty of closing the open and opening the closed, which renders each invalid. Many wayward people in our nation have raised a hand against the practice of Torah, claiming that the important thing is only the beautiful general spirit of the Torah, thus breaking open the closed. The deterioration of the actions drags along a philosophical deterioration. Once those who “damage the vineyards” break open the “fences of the world” their spirit will no longer reach the level to appreciate the holy value of the statements of the Torah and the Rabbis, including the open statement, which is wider and deeper than the sea. This is because only one who is sanctified in the holiness of good actions, behavior, and beliefs can elevate his spirit to properly view the value of the words of a Living G-d. Only those who fear Hashem and value His Name understand “the actions of Hashem and the work of His Hands,” referring to aggadot (Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim 708).

There is a fascinating statement of Chazal, which the Radak cites on the pasuk, “l’marbeh hamisrah” (to he who adds dominion - Yeshaya 9:6), which refers to the coming of mashiach. The letter mem in the middle of the second word is closed (as a mem normally appears at the end of a word). There is an open mem at the end of a word in the pasuk “in the walls of Jerusalem that are breached” (Nechemia 2:13), where we would expect a closed mem. The midrash says that the two p’sukim correspond to each other as follows. When the breached walls of Jerusalem are sealed, the closed dominion of the House of David will be opened. This hints something about the opposite order, regarding the closure of the open statement and the breaching of the closed statement, which causes the deterioration of our nation, which sits in darkness until Hashem will be our light. Our philosophical views can be profound and our intellect can be complete regarding mastering sciences and liberal arts, which enable discoveries in the realm of the open statement. Yet, we must remember that the word always must end with a closed mem. This represents the idea that Kohelet concludes with: “At the end of the matter, when all is heard, fear Hashem and observe His mitzvot for this is all of man.” The closed statement, referring to observance, must be upheld with all strength, even and especially, when the open statement is being expanded.

This is irrespective of the outlook one takes, whether it be from a vantage point of human logic and great involvement in the new sciences or whether in the realm of approaches to Torah and its secrets, including the rationale of mitzvot. One should not reduce but should add great efforts for sanctity and purity, with diligence and vigilance in all the practical details of mitzvot. This will bring, in one’s private life and in the nation’s existence as a special nation, uniqueness in the sanctity of Torah with the greatness of Hashem, the G-d of Israel. The foundations of Jewish belief are included in the closed statement, which comes at the end of a word. The open statement is effective in expanding and glorifying the Torah when it comes in the middle of the word.


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