Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Introduction to the thought of Rav Mordechai Elon Shli”ta- Part 2

Torat Eretz Israel is Torat Chayim Part 1

The Midrash says:

"And the gold of that land is good" [Gen. 2:12]. "This teaches that there is no Torah like the Torah of the Land of Israel" [Bereishit Rabbah 16:4]
What is so special about living Torah in Erets Israel? Isn’t it the same torah everywhere?

There is another famous expression which we use calling our Torah “Torat Chayim”, the Torah of life.

Rav Elon, on many occasions, connected these two concepts explaining to us that Torat Eretz Israel was the way to Torat Chayim.

This post will just touch the surface of this subject quickly (as I am in the middle of an important essay) and the next few posts will deal with it in more details.

We will speak on a completely rational level. How can we call our torah a Torat Chayim if all we do is learn it and we do not have the opportunity to live it?

During the many years of exile, the Jewish people have been reduced to the status of a religion where people went into Yeshivot in order to learn their religion. However, the Torah needs to be lived not just learned!

Chassidut tried to bring life to the torah and make it more then just a theology, but since they were in exile, they could only affect the individual aspect of a person’s life and not the national one. More then that, trying to create an atmosphere of Torat Chayim where aspects of your life connect to Torah ranges from Hard to Impossible in chuts laaretz.

Now, what exactly is Torat Chayim?

A student once asked Rav Elon: I understand living in Israel is a mitsvah, but it’s one mitzvah. Why put do much emphasis on it?

Rav Elon explained: Our Torah is Torat Chayim. No where else in the world can all aspects of your life be part of Torah. In Erets Israel, politics are torah, going to the army is torah, building your house is torah, planting a tree is torah etc… Everything is Torah! The Torah becomes once again a Torat Chayim!

This was just a brief introduction to the subject. Much better material coming soon. But interestingly enough, Rav Kook writes:

" Only through their longing for the Land of Israel, will exilic Judaism receive its inherent qualities and essential characteristics. Yearning for Salvation, is the force that preserves Exilic Judaism, whereas the Judaism of the Land of Israel, is the very Salvation itself" (Orot 1,1)

I heard in the name of the Chafets Chayim, that when Russians forced babies to go to the Army, he said that it wasn’t that bad, because they were in the same time being trained for what would soon be the IDF, the Jewish Army. He was living in galut so in order to make all aspects of his life torah, he used the “expectation of redemption” (tsipiyah liyeshua)

We are Mamash lucky to live in a generation where we can live the Redemption itself! more...

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