Friday, February 27, 2009

What Torah Is

A very wise young woman commented on my blog that it focuses on what Torah isn't but says nothing about what it is; a very true comment indeed.

The reason is simple. Rambam ascribes to an apophatic theology. As a general rule, human beings can only reach an understanding of what God isn't rather than what He is.

Similarly, I would suggest, understanding what Torah isn't is much easier than understanding what it is. To understand what it is, you actually have to know something, and, unfortunately, I don't.

That being said, just as I am not a musician and cannot write music, but I can know that when I'm listening to Harry Chapin ZT"L sing Cat's in the Cradle, or Dan Fogelberg ZT"L sing Leader of the Band, I am experiencing Divinely inspired music, so too … when I read a piece written by a great Rabbi that reflects what Torah is, I know it when I see it.

As a general observation, I suspect that many of us, including myself, fail to grasp what Torah is because we are too caught up with the trees of Halakha to notice and understand the forest of Torah.

So, in order to help balance this blog just a bit and not always focus on what Torah isn't, and since I myself am not capable of writing what Torah is, I will, from time to time, reference a piece, written by a great Rabbi, that does exactly that.

So, in that spirit, I refer you to this article by R. Yuval Sherlo, which also appears in this week's "Shabbaton" Shabbat sheet.

Shabbat shalom, and may we all merit to experience again Harry Chapin and Dan Fogelberg in the next world … and of course, only during lunch breaks after hearing shiur from R. Sherlo.

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