Lamp and Lights – Proverbs 6:23
Some see the observance of the commandments as drudgery. They see in the performance of the commandments a stifling of the creative side of man, of his independence and of man’s appreciation for adventure.
Others see dedication to the commandments as a mindless and heartless approach to life. They see the fulfillment of the commandments as legalistic and narrow-minded.
Yet others view the observance of the commandments as an activity that induces self-righteousness and haughtiness. These people see the observance of the commandments as something that can potentially lead people away from the light and grace of God.
King Solomon was inspired to see man’s obedience to God’s commandment in a different light.
Solomon saw God’s perfect Law as light and each of the commandments as another lamp diffusing that light. Each and every commandment is God’s personal directive to every individual who is included in the purview of that particular commandment. It is the Creator of heaven and earth and all that exists between them that is talking to the individual and telling him or her: “My son, My daughter I am commanding you, yes you, to observe and to follow. You know that I am your King and the King of all existence. Here is an opportunity to acknowledge My sovereignty, to live out the truth of My sovereignty, in your words, in your deeds and in the deepest recesses of your consciousness.
The highest achievement of man is to recognize and acknowledge that every facet of existence belongs solely to God. It takes all of man’s creativity and all of his independence to bring all of his being in line with the ultimate truth. The highest understanding that our minds can attain is the understanding of the completeness of God’s sovereignty. And the deepest yearning of our heart is to bow to the One who created all.
Obedience to God’s commandments has nothing to do with self-righteousness and it has everything to do with submission to God’s righteousness.
The world may not appreciate observance of the commandments; the world may even look down at the observance of the commandments. But the lights of Chanukah testify that the beauty of obedience to God’s command has conquered in the past and will prevail into the future.
The light of the world is the truth of God’s sovereignty. And the beauty of the world is the opportunity that God gave us to fill our lives with that truth.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
I have one very tiny ember of a candle still glowing now, of the eighth night. It speaks to me a lot about how these commandments, both of Torah and the ones the community has taken upon itself, are so tangible. The small lights I’ve had in my bedroom window carry an actual, actual light from the past generations who gave it to the future to remember and hold the heart of the whole nation by. The little details of decisions about how to keep all of the mitzvot are all very pregnant with the spirit of the law and what it means for a community to keep it together from past to present to future… all as a gift for Hashem, every moment of the day, and as a gift from Him to Israel.
Caring about the details of holiness as it has been commanded is the only way to enjoy this light in our lives, because it is the way that this particular nation has been given t osay no to compromise and yes to the closeness of God.
The mitzvot are the archeaological remains of what was given to Israel at the start. I’m not saying that in the sense only of proof, but of closeness… the past always seems real when objects, images, words, are left over from it. A person who commits their life to studying and living Torah is one who draws very close to the tangible reality of that gift.
Reblogged this on 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources.
Obedience to God’s commandments has nothing to do with self-righteousness and it has everything to do with submission to God’s righteousness.”
is it possible to explain this with some examples from the torah?
We know that God despises haughtiness – yet He accepted the obedience of Israel when they built the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) – Furthermore – the antidote to pride prescribed by the Torah is obedience – Deuteronomy 17:19,20
I hope this answered your question if it did not please do not hesitate to ask for clarification
thank you for clarification.
rabbi, on this blog have you dealt with how christians interpret the word “asham” in the isaiah passage ?
I address it here – I remember arguing with someone in the comment section about this – let me see if I can find it
here is the definition of the word GUILT
the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability:
He admitted his guilt.
a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.:
to live a life of guilt.
how would you, using the above definition of GUILT, explain to a christian why jesus is NOT required for REPENTANCE
just to help me understand better
How is observance of Torah self righteousness when G-d commanded people to observe it?