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Pinchas – Daily Commitment

Being committed to Yiddishkeit is a daily thing.

In the introduction to Sefer Ein Yaakov, the author cites a fascinating Midrash in which each Rav cites the verse [pasuk] he would choose if asked to select a single pasuk best summing up the message of the Torah.

    “Ben Zoma says, ‘we find a comprehensive pasuk: “Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our God, Hashem is One.”’

    Ben Nanas says, ‘we find a more comprehensive pasuk: “You shall love your fellow as yourself.”’

    Ben Pazi says, ‘we find a more comprehensive pasuk: “The one sheep you shall offer in the morning and the second sheep you shall offer in the afternoon.”’

    Rav Ploni stood on his feet and said, ‘The halachah is like Ben Pazi.’”

A similar discussion is found in Toras Kohanim Vayikra 19 an earlier source where different Chachmim discuss the same question

    “And you shall love your fellow man like yourself; Rabbi Akivah says, “This is the basis of the Torah”.

    Ben Azzai says “the verse, “This is the book of the chronicles of man”, is more inclusive.”

When we combine both sources we find that there are four opinions regarding what might be the most comprehensive pasuk in the torah.

Ben Azzai, believed it was Zeh sefer toldos adam byom baroh Elokim adam b’dmus E/okim asah ooso. “This is the book of the chronicles of man; on the day that G-d created man He created him in the image of G-d.”

Ben Zoma chose Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.

Ben Nanas and Rabbi Akivah chose V’ahavta l’rayacha kamocha.

Each one in its own way has merit.

Shimon ben Pazi choose this pasuk: Es hakeves echad tabseh baboker, v’es hake yes hasheni taseh bein habrbayim. One sheep you shall offer in the morning, and the second sheep in the afternoon.

How is it the Shimon ben Pazi thought that this pasuk sums up Yiddishkeit? How is it that the Midrash tells us that the Halacha agreed with him?. What is it about these words that sums up the message of the Torah. After all, Ben Azzai spoke of man being in the image of G-d and in the Midrash quoted in Ein Yaakov the pasuk suggested by Ben Zoma pertains to our relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu and our acceptance of the yoke of Heaven.., The pasuk put forward by both Ben Nanas and Rabbi Akivah teaches us that we must treat our fellow men as we would treat ourselves. But the fourth pasuk discusses the korban tamid. Why is that pasuk considered to be unique in any way, and how can the Rav Ploni declare that the fourth view is the most correct?

The korban tamid was offered twice daily, on every day of the year. This type of regularity symbolizes our continual bond with the Master of the World.

The Maharal explains that what makes living a Jewish life unique is the unswerving commitment to live and breathe the truth of Torah day in, day out, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Every single morning and every single afternoon we make a sacrifice for our Creator

Yiddishkeit asks the human being to make daily sacrifices for Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

During exciting days as well as monotonous days, on bright days and bleak days -“One sheep you shall offer in the morning and the second sheep in the afternoon.” In the morning, when you awake, you are called to make a sacrifice to G-d. In the afternoon, when your day is winding down, you are called, once again, to sacrifice something of yourself for G-d.

Judaism is not a series of one off experiences and is not only about a moving Yom Kippur experience or an emotional memorial ceremony; it is a something the Jew lives every moment of his life. It is the constant dedication to His will on Earth.

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