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    Taking the title away – T’rumah

    The Ark of the Covenant, from the 1728 Figures de la Bible

    “You shall overlay (the Ark) with pure gold, both outside and within” (Ex. 25:11).

    The Talmud (Yoma 72b) uses this verse to conclude that any scholar (Talmid Chacham) who is not the same inside and outside is no Talmid Chacham.

    But surely the characteristic of a scholar is scholarship. What do personal attributes have to do with the right to be called a scholar?

    The answer is that one learns not only from a person’s book learning but from who they are. The way a Talmid Chacham ties his bootlaces is also said to be part of his being a Talmid Chacham.

    It is not what one knows but how the knowledge has shaped one’s whole being that creates a scholar.

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