The Rebbe Torah View on
Jewish Prisoners
Ask the Rabbi Things You
Need to Know
Living with
the Times
A Letter
from Prison
7 Noahide Laws
to Non-Jews
Current Issue
Monday, June 26, 2017 2 Tamuz 5777


The first Lubavitch/Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya and Code of Jewish Law, once remarked that a Jew must "live with the times." His son explained the meaning: A Jew must live with the Torah portion of the week - i.e., he must assimilate the lessons of the weekly Torah portion
His Torah Is True
Moshe’s confrontation with his nephew, Korach, who revolted against Moshe’s and Aaron’s leadership, included the following exchange between Moshe and G-d:
“Don’t turn to their gift-offering. I have not taken a donkey from a single one of them, and I have not wronged a single one of them.”
What did Moshe mean when he said he did not take anything from the Korach group?
The answer, one suggests, is that if Moshe had accepted gifts from them, his judgment could have been clouded.
However, this answer flies in the face of logic. If Moshe’s judgment had been affected by receiving something from them, the effect would have been the opposite. Feeling that he owed them something, Moshe would have leaned to their side of the dispute. Why would not taking a bribe from them make him more confident that his opposition to them was unbiased?
The answer lies in a deeper understanding of human nature. When a person is on the receiving end of a favor it creates a sense of “I owe him something.” To be beholden to another renders a person a debtor and no one likes to be indebted. Many people do not want to be viewed as needing someone else’s kindness; it makes them feel like a schnorer. Most people prefer to be givers rather than takers. Rendering others as takers can create hostility toward the benefactor for stripping the recipient of pride and dignity.
A person whose ego is in check will always appreciate the gifts of G-d and others and show gratitude for them. On the other hand, persons whose ego is inflated might respond to a gift with resentment caused by a bruised ego.
Moshe, in his humility, states to G-d that, even if he had had an inflated ego, he had no reason to personally begrudge them the position of leadership because they had not bruised it. Korach and his allies hadn’t done anything “nice” for Moshe that might have caused him to resent them.
Moshe was the paragon of truth and, as our Sages teach us, in the end Korach and his sons declare: “Moshe is true and his Torah is true and we are the liars.” The reason for the repetition is that they acknowledged that truth defined Moshe in terms of his subjective character as well as the objective aspect of his teachings.
Some people teach Torah truthfully but lack sincerity. Others are totally sincere but teach a distorted Torah. Moshe combined Torah truth with complete sincerity.
One of the casualties of Galus (exile) is the lack of subjective and objective truth. While Torah was, is and will ever be consistent and the ultimate transmitter of truth, there is still a problem with the way Torah is understood subjectively.
Galus also affects the subjective way in which we approach the Torah’s teachings, even when we do not distort their essential meaning. It is true that our Sages declared that the deed, i.e., the act of the mitzvah, is the essential thing. Moreover, they asserted that one should perform a mitzvah even if it was for ulterior motives. Nevertheless, the ideal is for us to perform the mitzvos with integrity, sincerity and profound inner feelings. The objective truth of Torah and mitzvos should be augmented with subjective truth.
Moshiach is a leader who, like Moshe, epitomizes Torah in its most unadulterated form; combining objective truth of Torah and subjective truth. The Geula, (Redemption) which Moshiach will inaugurate, will therefore expose the truth of Torah to the world. Nobody will be able or desire to distort it. In addition, we will learn Torah and perform mitzvos with unmitigated truth and sincerity. The synthesis between objective truth and subjective truth will be complete.

Help a Jew in prison and press the Donate button now.
Learn how to
make it happen
Need a Shoulder? Candle
Lighting Times
About Us Contact Us Tell Us About
a Prisoner
עברית Русский
Privacy Policy