Torah Thoughts for Today
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Weekly Torah Portion of EKEV
Stating it Twice: Why the Torah Repeats Some Main Events!
By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin, Director www.jpi.org | Weekly Torah Portion of EKEV.
The Torah portion of Ekev is in the Book of Deuteronomy. Like all the Torah portions starting two weeks ago, and continuing for the next six weeks, all are in the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy).
In this portion there is mention of the second set of Ten Commandments, or the “Second Tablets” that Moses says he was ordered to make by God after he had broken the first set when he saw the Israelites worshiping the Golden Calf (in Deuteronomy chapter 10). But, like many things mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy, this is already stated in the Book of Exodus (chapter 34) following the description of the actual events that took place at that time.
There are some questions about the repetition of it all. In fact the Book of Deuteronomy itself is referred to as a “Second Torah” (“Mishneh Torah” in Hebrew) – one grand repetition of the Torah itself.
So what we have is a repetition of the Torah, a repetition of the Second Tablets, a repetition of the Ten Commandments, and numerous other repetitions and seeming duplicates of the commandments and much more all presented very obviously and deliberately, but the question is WHY?
So I will propose a solution and you decide if it makes sense and if you like it feel free to publicize it.
Every set of ideas and system of thought must start with given definitions and axioms. What are the “axioms” and “definitions” of the Torah and where are they to be found? The obvious place is always at the start. And at the literal very “beginning” of the Torah there is the account of Adam and Eve and how they were created by God and placed in the perfect world of the Garden of Eden. But as we know the Torah relates that because Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and gave of its fruit to her husband Adam, all against the commandment of God, they were punished in various ways and expelled from the Garden of Eden.
But the Torah’s account at the very “beginning” does NOT end there! God gives them a SECOND chance. In fact the Torah itself has TWO accounts of what happened. In Genesis chapter 1, there is an account of a perfect Creation from Day One to Day Six culminating with the creation of Adam in the image of God and then on to Day Seven, the Shabbat a day of perfect rest. Then Genesis chapter 2 describes events that went wrong for Adam and Eve…and that God gave them a second chance, meaning He did not wipe them out entirely but allowed them to do teshuva (“repentance”).
This mechanism of a “second chance” is encapsulated and symbolized, and functions in the names that God chooses for himself. In Genesis 1 the name for God that is used is “Elohim” (denoting Lordship and Judge) while in Genesis 2 the name for God that the Torah uses is “YHVH” the unpronounceable Tetragrammaton that is said as “Adonai” (“Master”). The first name of God denotes strict JUDGMENT (“din”) while the second name denotes MERCIFULNESS (“chesed”). Thus the second name of God is all about “second chances” because that is the essence of mercy, forgiveness and re-acceptance.
Thus throughout the Torah, especially in those aspects that are the closest representations of its nature and of God’s essence, such as the Second Tablets, and the Ten Commandments and of the Torah itself, there are repetitive and even cyclical second events and repetitions that reflect the way that God has set up this world and allows it to continue functioning as imperfect as it may seem, it is based on perfection.
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