The Slonimer Rebbe writes in the Nesivos Shalom that a central theme running throughout Sefer Shemos is transforming the physical world into a resting place for God’s presence. For example, freeing Bnei Yisroel from Mitzayim enabled the Jewish nation to recognize hashgacha and live according to Divine values. The giving of the Torah and the acceptance of the Torah by Bnei Yisroel demonstrated the desire to forge an eternal covenant with God and establish a Torah-based society. In this week’s Parshas Terumah, God commands Moshe to build a Mishkan to be the resting place for the Shechina in this world.
Among the vessels that served as the Divine “furniture” in the Mishkan is the Aron HaKodesh which will eventually house the Torah. As Rashi explains (Shemos 25:16), “The Torah, which functions as the testimony between Me and you, that I commanded you with the mitzvos that are written in it.” Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene writes (Set in Stone), “Judaism is not as much a religion as it is a relationship. It is only through mitzvah observance that man can build a deep, enduring, and meaningful relationship with
God… That a mitzvah is the very process of forging the bond [with God] is contained within the very word מצוה, “commandment,” closely related to the word צוותא, meaning a connection or a binding.”
The Jewish people have long been called “The People of the Book.” In fact, one of the identifying characteristics of Judaism is that Jews of all ages, and from all walks of life, engage in intensive and passionate Torah study, without any ulterior financial or academic motives. Such a dedication to study has probably never been matched by any other society. Since the Torah is the blueprint for the world, its study is the foundation for the entirety of Jewish life.
The NLE Morasha shiur on Torah Study: The Foundation of Jewish Life addresses the following questions:
- Why is Torah study considered essential to Jewish life?
- What do we hope to achieve through Torah study?
- What effect can Torah study have on my character?
- What if I feel like I’m not cut out for Torah study, or it’s too hard?
- Why does the Torah place so much emphasis on the commandment to study continuously without ever “graduating”?