• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    The threefold task – Va’et’channan

    Moses tells the people to listen to the commandments and do three things – to study, observe and do them (Deut. 5:1).

    The duty of studying the laws is discussed in the Gemara Kiddushin 40b. It asks which is more important, study or practice. It concludes that study is more important because it leads to practice. If you know what is required of you, your mind will lead you to carry out the task.

    Why then are there two words (ush’martem, “observe” and la’asotam, “do”) about carrying out the task? Is there a difference between observing and doing?

    It depends on how you understand the verbal root sh-m-r. Saadia Ga’on suggests that it means “to remember”, which means that we must not only study the laws but maintain them mentally.

    However, if we interpret the verb as “protect”, that makes a great difference. We must not let the law be whittled away or be squeezed dry of meaning.

    The opening chapter of Pir’kei Avot tells us to make a fence around the Torah.

    Comments are closed.