The Torah Inside
James Scott Trimm
Observing Torah must not be empty and detached, simply going through the motions. Observing Torah flows from our internalization of Torah.
The Torah is the very expression of the mind of Elohim. When the wisdom of Torah gestates in our understanding it gives birth to a knowledge of Torah within us. This Torah within us unites with our mind and manifests itself in what we think, what we say and what we do, thus overcoming the evil inclination within us and uniting us with the mind of YHWH, thus “cleaving” to YHWH. We do not observe Torah as one trying to earn something, but with no mind of a reward, for its own sake, to bring us closer to YHWH, out of the love and awe that we have for Him.
This internalization of Torah is clear in the Talmud. One of the first disputes recorded in the Mishnah centers around the issue of how the shema should be recited:
The House of Shammai says: In the evening one should recline in order to recite the shema, and in the morning they should stand. As it is written “when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)
But the House of Hillel says: Everyone may recite the Shema in his own way, as it is written: “And you shall go by the way” (Deuteronomy 7:7)
The House of Shammai took the phrase “when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7) to mean that the shema should literally be said lying down and standing up.
But the House of Hillel taught that this simply referred to the time at which people lie down and the time at which people rise up, and not to the position in which one recites the shema.
Note that the House of Shammai were concerned primarily with the outward expression, with whether one was standing or reclining, while the House of Hillel were less concerned with such outward expression and much more concerned with the way in which one recited the Shema, that they made it their own way, that they meant it and walked in it. Note the difference in emphasis of the two houses.
Hillel was more concerned with the inner man, while Shammai was more concerned with the outer man. Hillel was concerned with the Spirit of the Law, while Shammai was more concerned with the Letter of the Law.
This overriding concept of sincerity is also found in the Mishna in tractate Menachot:
“…all are the same, the one who offers much and the one who offers little,
on condition that a man will direct his intention to Heaven.”
Again, the act of Torah observance must not be an empty matter of going through the motions, it must proceed from our internalization of Torah.
The Torah and the Messiah are one. When we study Torah, the Wisdom of Torah gestates in our Understanding and gives birth to Knowledge of Torah. This is what is meant by having the Torah in our inward parts. Since the Torah and the Messiah are one, this is also having the Messiah within us. The Messiah within us is a spark of YHWH within us, a second soul. While our animal soul has an inclination to do evil, this second soul has an inclination to do good. This helps us to overcome our evil inclination. This occurs as Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge of Torah within us flows from our mind down to our emotions, resulting in a love for Elohim that inclines us to keep the positive commandments, and awe for Elohim that inclines us not to violate the negative commandments.
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