Featured in this week’s Jewish Journal
Rabbi Aryeh Markman
Executive Director, Aish Los Angeles
If Gordon Ramsay, one of the world’s best chefs, gave you his secret recipe for the most important dinner party of your life, would you leave out or add one ingredient or measure?
Would you add a stroke to a Van Gogh?
So it is with the Torah’s 304,805 letters dictated to Moses. If one is left out or added, the Torah is null and void until repair. Think of the Torah as code from a master programmer. It’s running the most sophisticated hardware: life itself — applicable to every permutation of human activity imaginable. As Rabbi Ben Bag-Bag (“Ethics of the Fathers”) says: “Delve in it … for everything is in it …”
When a Jew studies Torah, it’s as if the cake is reading its own recipe.
The Torah was given only once in history — never to be repeated. There is nothing irrelevant from days of antiquity nor is anything missing, including Zoom and augmented reality.
So what are all these rabbinical add-ons anyway? All of the prophets who followed only illuminated what was enumerated in the Torah. After prophecy ended 2,500 years ago, there were a few rare individuals who added “insulation” to the Torah. They dedicated themselves to total immersion in Torah study and were at the highest echelon of wisdom. They knew how to apply the 13 hermeneutic principles of logic that are displayed throughout the Talmud.
For the rest of us, it’s akin to a defibrillator, which should be used by only trained professionals.