Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Judaism is a Verb

It seems one of the most significant attributes a company can have is for it to be a verb. Google reached this milestone a few years ago of becoming a verb as people are now googling, or a person can google anything under or above the sun. Sometime later, it seems that Facebook reached the plateau of becoming a verb as some can facebook you. Who remembers when Xerox joined this elite class with folks saying ”Just xerox it”!
A more recent member of the group has been Uber with people now just ubering to work. This represents far more than a different function as a part of speech. It reflects a certain dynamism and vitality in society as people don’t associate the entity as something in a glass case but rather as something that is brimming with energy and on the move.

I believe that there is a profound message in this weeks Parsha that reflects the idea that the Torah is actually a verb. This week the parsha begins with a statement of “ אִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֖י תֵּלֵ֑כוּ or If you will go with my commandments.”  Rashi interprets this text as one should toil or study the Torah with intensity. One may wonder if the point of this biblical text is that some should internalize the Torah, why is it expressed in the manner of going or walking? I believe that this is precisely the message. The Torah is not something to be stored literally or figuratively in a glass case. It is an entity that is full of dynamism, vitality, and relevance for contemporary life as it was thousands of years ago. The more we are engaged with Torah study and Torah values, it invigorates our soul and contributes to having a life filled with meaning and purpose. In other words, not only is Judaism a verb, but the Torah is a verb.

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