Elul 25
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Elul 25

Moses assembled the Sanctuary (Exodus 40:18) ... The Glory of God filled the Sanctuary. (Exodus 40:34)

The Talmud describes in great detail how each component of the Sanctuary was fashioned, and that the completion of each component was a mitzvah. Nevertheless, the Divine Glory did not descend until the component parts were assembled into the whole.

The 613 mitzvot of the Torah are indeed the essential parts, without which the structure of a Torah life is impossible.However, they must be assembled into the ultimate whole, which is even greater than the sum of its parts.

In the past two centuries, the study of Torah works of mussar and chassidut were promoted by the great luminaries, Rabbi Yisroel of Salant and the Baal Shem Tov. Both met with resistance by many Torah scholars, who argued that the study of the Scriptures and Talmud alone was an adequate guide to living a Torah life.

These two great sages realized that while previous generations could assemble the component parts of the Torah into the desired whole, later generations required additional help in doing so. Formal study of mussar and chassidus is essential if people are to live a life that attests to the Glory of God.

Sometimes we may be disappointed in observing some people who are apparently observant of Torah and yet do not lead exemplary lives. Invariably, these people do not implement the teachings of mussar and chassidus, so that while they possess the building blocks, they fail to assemble the structure of a Jewish life.

Today I shall...

devote myself to the study of the ethics of Jewish living.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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