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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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Sivan 6

God spoke all these words saying, "I am the Lord, your God" (Exodus 20:1-2).

The word leimor, usually translated as quoted above, saying, can also mean, "to say." The phrase all these words may refer to the entire text of the Torah that precedes the Ten Commandments, from the moment of Creation in Genesis, through the accounts of the lives of the Patriarchs and the bondage in Egypt. Everything that the Torah relates prior to the Ten Commandments may thus be understood as preparatory to them.

The lives of the Patriarchs; the absolute devotion of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the episode of Joseph and his brothers; the enslavement in Egypt; and the miracles of the Exodus - all are a necessary prelude to the acceptance of trust and faith in God, which constitutes the foundation and the first of the Ten Commandments.

The Talmud and Midrash provide many additional details about the history of our people prior to Sinai, and the wealth of writings in the commentaries and in homiletics by Torah scholars through the ages clarify and elaborate on the Talmud and Midrashic statements, thereby enabling us to draw from them the principles that are to guide us in living ethical and moral lives.

The Torah is not a history text. Nothing appears in the Torah that does not provide a teaching that we can apply to our lives. It is our responsibility to study and utilize these valuable teachings.

Every word in the Torah was Divinely dictated, and it was all leimor, to make possible the statement, "I am the Lord, your God."

Today I shall...

dedicate myself to the comprehensive study of Torah in order to gain the knowledge necessary for living Jewishly.

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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