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Friday, March 28, 2008

Dvar Torah for Parshat Shmini

People love to ask 'why?' It's the sign of curiosity, and it helps us learn more. Why is the sky blue? Why does rubber bounce? Why does the Torah use this word? Why? What about when a parent tells us to do something? We don't need to ask why, because we trust that our parents know what's best for us. 
        The Hebrew term for not asking why is called 'kabbalat ol'. It means accepting Hashem's commandments, even if we don't understand why we're doing them. We learn an important lesson about kabbalat ol from this week's parsha, Parshat Shmini. 
         Parshat Shmini describes the dedication of the Mishkan, the place where Hashem's presence would come down to rest in this world. Nadav and Avihu, the son's of Aharon the high priest, reached such a high level while serving Hashem that their souls couldn't bear to be down here anymore and left their bodies to be one with Hashem. Although this only happened to the two sons, all of the Jewish people were on an extremely high spiritual level. 
       Then right after this event, the Torah proceeds to command the Jews about the kosher laws and all the unkosher animals they shouldn't eat. Why does this come here, right in the middle of describing the extremely high spiritual level the Jews were on? 
       Someone might think that we only have to have 'kabbalat ol' and accept what Hashem commands when we are at a low level, when we don't really want to be doing it ourselves. We aren't excited or enthusiastic about it, we just do it because Hashem said so. But when someone is on such a high spiritual level and they have such a love for Hashem and a thirst for holiness, why would they need kabbalat ol? This is why the Torah stops and reminds us of the laws of kashrut, which are called chukim, laws that don't have a reason. We just do them because Hashem said. 
       It's very important to understand the reasons and deep meaning behind the mitzvot, and to do mitzvot with enthusiasm and joy. But at the same time we also have to have the foundation of 'kabbalat ol' and know that we really don't understand all the mitzvot, but our Father in Heaven knows what's best for us. Good Shabbos!

(Based on Likkutei Sichot, volume 1, page 227). 

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