Vol 23.05 - Chag HaShavuot 3 Spanish French Audio Video
(5743) The eternity of Torah, also the cures in the Talmud and in Rambam (Hil Deyut) are eternal.
1. It is known regarding Matan Torah that,
even though Torah was also studied before Matan Torah as it states “The Beit Midrash/study hall” of Shem”, the “Beit Midrash” of Ever and that (starting with Adam HaRishon) we were commanded with many Mitzvot, and moreover the Patriarchs kept the entire even before it was given –
nevertheless, the innovation was that at Matan Torah, Yidden were commanded to fulfill all the 613 Mitzvot and the entire Torah was (given)/spoken to each Jew. Moreover – Torah and Mitzvot were given from G-d. Anochi (HaShem Elokecha) in a manner of “Anochi” which (as the Talmud states) is an acronym of the words "Ana nafshi k'tavit yahavit", meaning "I (G-d) wrote (expressed the essence of) My soul and gave it over (to you, the Jewish people in the Torah)". Thus G-d “wrote” and “gave” His essence in Torah.
And since Torah is the soul (and as Chassidut explains, the Essential Will/ratzon Atzmi) of G-d, it is understood (which is a principle of our faith) that “This Torah will not be exchanged/muchlefes”, as Rambam states:
“It is clear and explicit in the Torah that it is (G-d's) commandment, remaining forever without change, addition, or diminishment” and “This Torah, its statutes and its laws, are everlasting. We may not add to them or detract from them”
The commandments and directives that existed before Matan Torah had critical additions etc. as we find by Noach compared to Adam, and Avraham compared to Noach etc.
One could therefore (possibly) say that regarding them (the commandments at that time, that) the (primary) aspects concerned the benefit and good of man – therefore when differences (and elevations etc.) occurred in mankind, G-d’s commandments to mankind also changed (as it were).
However, with Matan Torah, where "G-d expressed His Essence in Torah" (nafshi k'tavit yahavit), it is understood that that the Mitzvot of Torah are
(not just an intermediary/mital to receiving reward or to “refine humanity”, or to prepare the quality and advantage of being “a treasure/segula and a kingdom of priests etc. and a holy nation” –
(which, if so, it would be possible to say that when there is a difference in the persons fulfilling the Mitzvot, there could also be a change in the Mitzvot themselves),
but also and primarily)
the intent and purpose, for they are the “Essence/Nafshi” of G-d. Therefore, just as change is not applicable. G-d forbid, in “G-d‘s Essence /Nafshi”, so too change is not applicable in Torah and Mitzvot, as is explained elsewhere at length.
2. Since the aspect of eternality of Torah is bound to that which it is “G-d’s Essence/Nafshi” the way it is “expressed/yahavit” and enclothed in the “Wisdom and Will of G-d”, it is understood plainly that the eternality of Torah is not just in the Written Torah , but also in the Oral Torah/”Torah Sheba'al Peh" (as it states: “All the Mitzvot that were given to Moshe at Sinai (which began with “Anochi”) were given with their explanations” and all of their parts: “Mikra/chumash, MIshneh, Talmud and Agadah”. Moreover, it states: “Even that which a diligent student will say in front of his teacher – they were all told to Moshe on Sinai” (“Va-Afilu mah sh-talmid vatik atid lehorot lifnei rabbo – kvar ne’emar le-Moshe be-Sinai,”) “The words of Torah are all one”.
It therefore comes out, that even all the aspects that are in the Talmud that are connected to people’s nature e.g. remedies etc., being a portion of the Oral Torah, are also included in the category of eternality of Torah , which does not change.
Accordingly, one must understand why it is said, regarding many of the protections/segulot and even remedies/refuot that are in the (Oral) Torah, that they have changed and from the times (of the Talmud etc.) and (are ineffectual) since “people’s nature have changed/nishtanu Hativim”?
One can understand those things that the Sages have explained are due to a particular danger –
For example: The law of water that was left exposed where “the Sages forbade (drinking it) perhaps a snake drank from them and ejected venom into them” – For there, it is understood that this is as if the Torah is explicitly stating that this prohibition is in a place where snakes are found. Therefore “nowadays where snakes are not prevalent among us – it is permissible”. The same is with other aspects.
And similarly, where there is no contradiction to the eternality of Torah as we find with many Mitzvot and laws which were obligated only in a specific time and place.
For example Mitzvot that depend on daytime, or the time when the Beit HaMikdash exists or those that are connected to Eretz Yisroel etc., because the Torah itself, from the onset, established that their boundary is for a specific time and place. (similar to the concept of time-bound positive commandments (Mitzvot Asei Shehazman grama).
However, those aspects of protections/segulot and remedies/refuot in the Torah, which the Torah did not make dependent upon the boundaries of time and place, but rather were stated in a general manner - that when one conducts himself in a certain manner it is harmful and the thing is (stated as an) aspect of a remedy etc. - - how can one say that they are not eternal aspects and that they are not applicable in our times (so much so that, as it states, it is forbidden to utilize the remedies that are in the Talmud) because “people’s nature have changed”?
(And as many commentators state that, indeed, with regard to many things, whose prohibition is because it is a “Law given to Moshe at Sinai/Halacha le-Moshe mi-Sinai” (Note: this refers to a Halacha that is neither explicitly stated in the biblical laws nor derived from it by Talmudical hermeneutics ; it is, however, known from the Jewish Tradition.), there can be no fluctuation due to the change of times etc. because “The words of our G-d endure forever”)
3. Similarly, the question is also in Rambam’s words:
In Hilchot De’ot, Rambam writes an entire chapter (starting with the words):
“Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of G-d” etc.
concerning how a person should conduct himself with regard to eating and drinking etc.:
Since Rambam places this in his sefer Yad HaChazakah, a “book of laws” (halachot halachot) , it is understood that these directives are
(not like the directives of a doctor, which a sick person must follow because it states: “Be extremely cautious for your lives” etc. even though the doctor’s directives are not Torah directives – but rather the directives in Rambam are themselves: )
a part of the halachot and directives of Torah .
This is especially so for Rambam does not suffice with stating (generally):
“Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of G-d etc. - therefore, he must avoid that which harms the body and accustom himself to that which is healthful and helps the body become stronger”
but rather concludes (with specifics)
that one must look in the naturalist and medical journals etc. for things that harm the body (as he writes at the conclusion of the chapter itself that a sick person must choose different patterns of behavior in accordance with his (particular) illness as it is explained in the medical literature.)
and considers in detail how one should eat etc., it is understood that these specifics are “laws” (halachot halachot), words of Torah just like the other laws in his Sefer HaYad.
And there is a practical difference:
When a Yid learns in Hilchot De’ot these specific things which discuss how one must conduct himself regarding eating and drinking etc. one fulfills the Mitzvah of Torah study/Talmud Torah and is obligated beforehand to make a blessing on Torah (study).
(and the same applies to the Halachot in Rambam in the third chapter and (in the majority of) the fourth chapter of the Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah/the foundations of the Torah) which discuss astronomy and angels etc. and certainly the many other chapters of calculations and Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh etc).
It is not understood:
Rambam did not state Halachot that were applicable for just a specific time, but rather specifically only those that are applicable for generations/l’dorot. And among the Halachot in the aforementioned Hilchot De’ot, there are many laws - such as those regarding eating etc. - that are not fitting in our times because people’s nature have changed.
Therefore, since the aspects and nature of the body are dependent and change from place to place and from time to time
(as nature changed from the Talmudic era to Rambam’s era – which is why Rambam does not cite many of the remedies that are explicit in the Talmud) –
Rambam should have, seemingly, not placed those (Note: that are not fitting) in his Sefer HaYad. He should have just mentioned the general directives that one must avoid etc. and in every time and place one would conduct themselves according to that which is healthful according to nature and (medical knowledge).
(According to a lighthearted interpretation (derech tzachot) one could say that this evokes an importance and dearness regarding a Jew’s health – that in order to ensure the health of a Jew, even if the benefit was just for a few generations or years, Rambam included the directives together with all the other aspects of Halachot)
It however, requires explanation:
In the end, Rambam should have indicated that that these aspects of health benefits are just being written according to the current nature in his generation and he should not have categorized them as Halachot that are in effect for all generations.
4. One could understand this, by explaining that it is in accordance with what Rambam himself explains (in his Sefer HaMitzvot) regarding the reason why he includes among the 613 Mitzvot also the Mitzvah to obliterate the Seven Canaanite nations - even though this is, seemingly, not a Mitzvah that is applicable for generations (for Rambam did not include non- applicable Mitzvot in the tally of the 613 Mitzvot).
“A command that can be fulfilled without being limited to a certain time is considered noheg l'dorot (for all generations), because if the act would become possible in any generation, the mitzvah would apply . . The general rule is that you must understand and contemplate upon the difference between the commandment itself and this that the commandment deals with There are Mitzvot where the object of the commandment has ceased to exist in a certain generation, but this does not render the Mitzvah not noheg l'dorot (for all generations), since the commandment itself applies forever etc..”
Similarly, one could seemingly say the same is in our case:
Even though we see that people’s nature today have changed,
(which is why the remedies etc. from the era of the Talmud, and similarly many of the directives in health matters that are in Rambam, are not efficacious)
it makes no difference to the fact that the object or Halacha (in Talmud and also in Rambam) is a ruling for all generations, a portion of the eternal Torah – because the ruling/hora’ah in this is eternal. It is just that the “object of the commandment” has “ceased to exist” (has changed) – it is not the same body that existed in the time of the commandment.
(This is similar to what Rambam himself qualifies when he promises that “Whoever conducts himself in the ways which we have drawn up, I will guarantee that he will not become ill throughout his life” , namely that this promise is not guaranteed for someone whose body was “impaired from the birth or (under many other stipulations) etc.
However, even according to this explanation it is not straightforward:
Regarding the command to wipe out the Seven Canaanite nations or regarding the obliteration of Amalek, the Torah states in the command the subject of the command (davar shNItztaveh alav) (namely the specification that it be the Seven Canaanite nations or Amalek) – this is a criteria of the command.
This is not so in our case:
In the words of the Talmud and Rambam there are no specifications or condition of nature (of the person, or of the material composition/samemanei of the remedy etc.)
5. One could explain this by prefacing a general principle regarding Torah and Mitzvot:
There is a known principle of our Sages that: “The Torah speaks of spiritual sublime matters which are alluded to secondarily in physical form below (“Torah (Sh) Medaberet b’Elyonim v’romezet b’Shniyut b’ Tachtonim”). (c,f, Shaloh who elaborates on this).
This means that it is
not that the things, that are stated in Torah are essentially (“in essence”) the same as they are below in physicality and the physical things have just a hint in them to the things the way they are in spirituality ( as in the statement: “The Torah speaks in physicality/tachtonim and alludes to spirituality/elyonim”)
but rather it is the opposite:
Torah speaks primarily/b’Etzem supernally (b’ elyonim) – the way the things are in spirituality and then (only) hints to the things the way they are “b’ tachtonim”, in physicality.
This means that although certainly "A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning (ein mikra yotzei midei peshuto )" and one cannot say that the verse just refers to the thing as it is spiritually, for there is always the simple meaning/Pshat of the verse as it is explained “b’tachtonim”, in physicality – nevertheless, primarily/b’Etzem, the Torah speaks supernally (b’ elyonim) (the way the things are in spirituality ).
The same applies to Mitzvot:
· In this world (b’Tachtonim) – the plain deed of the Mitzvah.
· And supernally (b’ Elyonim) - the spiritual aspect/tochen of the Mitzvah.
The explanation of this is:
It is not that, in conjunction to the Mitzvah that one plainly fulfills, the Mitzvah also has a spiritual aspect. But rather it is the opposite: When Torah speaks concerning Mitzvot, it means the Mitzvot the way they are supernally (b’ Elyonim - spiritual) – and the Mitzvot which are physically fulfilled, are a continuation and outcome of the spiritual aspects. This is clearly expressed by the Sages comment on the verse: “He declares His word to Jacob (Magid Devarav L'Yaakov)” that . . G-d . . what He does, he tell Yisroel to do and keep”.
This is not at all a contradiction to the principle that “the main thing is the deed” and also not to the dictum regarding Torah that “Torah is not in the heavens” – because the Supernal Will is that (the primary) fulfillment of Mitzvot be specifically and plainly here in this world (l’matah). (and similarly the Halachic ruling/psak of Torah is also specifically in this world as it states: “it is not in the heavens”).
However regarding Torah and Mitzvot in their own right/m’tzad atzmom it is the opposite: The source and beginning of Torah and Mitzvot is Above in spirituality,
(as it states( regarding Torah): “Then I was His delight every day, playing before Him at all times etc.” and as it states: “'That secret treasure, which has been hidden by You” etc.).
and from the spirituality they descend.
(as it states: “From the heavens I spoke to you”, “from the heavens you heard His voice etc. and on the earth etc.) and it flowed down below and into physicality. Therefore all the things that are in Torah have their explanation primarily/b’Etzem the way they are spiritually Above (b’ Elyonim).
Accordingly, one can also understand our case, regarding the aspects of healing etc.:
When Torah discusses directives regarding health and protections/segulot it speaks “primarily/b’Etzem the way they are b’ Elyonim”. This means it speaks of them primarily and at the onset the way they are spiritually. Only afterward (as an outcome from the essence and as a effluence from it) do they descend in come down below in physicality – “alluded to secondarily in physical form below “.
And the way the things are spiritually, they are eternal. From the aspect of their spiritual source, their benefit and healing are always in force.
Plainly, the aspects of the body – its nourishment and health etc. – descend from the same counterparts that are in his soul. Concerning the soul’s spiritual “eating” and “health” – the remedies and protections the way they are Above , spiritually, have an eternal power, in which there is no change. However, when they descend below in physicality, there can be a difference:
· In the era when they were discovered they also have the same effect as they are Above. Therefore the remedies and protections help also simply.
· However, when there is a change (and degradation) in the world - then the spiritual aspects cannot descend below in their complete state. Therefore, there is also a change regarding their effectiveness for healing the body – and the aforementioned directive remains just in spirituality.
A possible example of this is:
We find regarding certain Mitzvot that there is an aspect of (spiritual) “healing”. During the time of the Beit HaMikdash, when sacrifices were offered there , through offering a (physical) sacrifice/korban, a Yid achieved an atonement, as it states: “And he shall return and be healed” – a healing for the sin, Yet when the nature and condition changed as it states: “because of our sins we were exiled from our land” and also “our Beit HaMikdash was destroyed” – in that situation, the offering of a korban and the aforementioned “healing” does not help (and on the contrary – one must not offer a korban). However, one may receive the healing and atonement through offering a spiritual korban – through prayer and Teshuva etc.
7. Accordingly, one can apply this explanation for the chapter in Hilchot De’ot in Rambam:
The words of the Tumim (Note: R’ Yonasan Eybeschutz, author of the sefer Urim Ve-Tumim) are known regarding the language of the Beit Yosef and Rama that:
“All that was written came from G-d’s wisdom . . the spirit of G-d hovered in them so that their language focused on the Halacha without the author’s intent and the Will of G-d was successfully in their hands” (Note: Similarly c.f. HaYom Yom Shvat 6:"all rabbinic authors until and including the Taz and Shach composed their works with ruach hakodesh, the Divine Spirit")
From this it is understood that when Rambam wrote these laws - practices to ensure that the body be healthy and sound - the “spirit of G-d hovered in him” to direct him to the proper Halacha, including - (writing the proper Halacha) for the eternality of Torah.
In other words, even when there comes a time, when not all of his stated practices regarding eating etc. work to ensure that the physical body be healthy and sound,
(Since the nature of the body has changed because of the condition of the world etc.),
nevertheless the directives are eternal and they achieve their effect through spiritual eating and drinking etc., in man’s soul. And the spiritual aspect/tochen is the essence - the “b’Etzem” - the truth of the aspect, even though visibly and outwardly, Rambam is discussing the physical health of the body.
8. This aforementioned aspect (Par 5) – that the Torah speaks primarily supernally (b’Etzem b’ Elyonim) etc. also affects the Torah study of a person:
· There is Torah study the way it is below – b’tachtonim: the exoteric/nigleh part of Torah.
· And there is Torah study the way it is Above – b’elyonim: Pnimiyut HaTorah (which is the primary occupation of the souls in Gan Eden). This includes both the study of the inner aspects of the exoteric Halachot – “the Pnimiyut of the Mitzvah and its hidden meaning” and also the knowledge and study of the Seder Hishtalshelus and the unity of G-d etc. –
On this we say, that even though the Halachic ruling/”psak Halacha” is learned specifically from the aspects that are in the exoteric/nigleh part of Torah (by a soul that in a body down here), nevertheless Torah speaks primarily/b’Etzem the way they are spiritually Above (b’ Elyonim). The “essence of Torah/Etzem HaTorah” refers to the way a Yid studies it with its Pnimiyut aspects, where it then also effects a light and vitality in the Torah the way it is “alluded to secondarily in physical form below “in the study of the exoteric/nigleh part of Torah.
So much so that simply, this helps him to (in addition to his simple faith in it, that he also can) internalize/derheren and feel while studying the exoteric/nigleh part of Torah the way they are learnt here below (the way they are enclothed in physical aspects and worldly matters) – that it is the wisdom and will of G-d.
And by increasing in both categories, both in Pnimiyut HaTorah and the exoteric/nigleh part of Torah, one merits the revelation of the Torah of Moshiach. For then it will be that “the occupation of Torah and Mitzvot will not be for spiritual refinement/l’varar birurim but rather to unify greater supernal elements/yichud yichudim etc. and all this through Pnimiyut HaTorah to fulfill the Mitzvah with lofty intents/Kavanot elyonot etc. , therefore the primary occupation of Torah will also be in Pnimiyut of the Mitzvot and in their hidden meanings”
And in the words of Rambam, in his sefer which is a “book of laws” (halachot halachot), concerning the study of Torah in Messianic times etc. that the study will be in order to “be free to involve themselves in Torah and wisdom etc. and that “the occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d. Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential”.
With the coming of our righteous Moshiach, speedily and in our time, mamosh.
m’Sichas Chag HaShavuot 5725, 20th Iyar 5743
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