Everything in the Torah has importance

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO –A Rabbi was giving a lecture and commented that everything mentioned in the Torah teaches us a deep eternal lesson that has a dramatic impact on our lives today and for all time. Every word of Torah is precious.

A scoffer in the audience sneered,”What great lesson do we learn from the verse ‘Va’achos Lotan Timnah?’ ‘and the sister of Lotan was Timnah’ (Gen 36:22) This is just a boring historical factoid. I don’t care about Lotan and I don’t care about Timnah, and I certainly don’t care that they were brother and sister. What marvelous inspiring lesson do we learn from this insignificant statement?”

The Rabbi responded, “Why we learn one of the most profound lessons in Judaism from this verse. The Torah wrote previously (Gen 36:12) that Timnah was the concubine of Eliphaz the son of Esav the grandson of Avraham. Now it is telling us that she was the sister of Lotan – a Chief of Edom. She was born into royalty. Why would she make herself a mere concubine?”

The reason was that she recognized the greatness and holiness of the G-d of Avraham, and decided to be connected to this greatness by marrying one of Avraham’s descendents. The only way she could do this was by becoming a concubine to Eliphaz.

Being attached to G-d’s shechina (presence), even in this tangential manner, meant so much to her, that this regal princess was willing to make herself a lowly concubine in order to attain this closeness to Hashem (G-d).”

The Rabbi concluded, “If Hashem’s holy shechina meant so much to her that she was willing to sacrifice so much – think of how much it should mean to us and how much we should do to be close to Hashem and walk in His ways.”

We learn from the above incident that we can see the same thing in two different lights, as we see in the following prose:

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that Today was a good day

Now read the prose passage from bottom to top.

Dedicated by Frank & Merril Felber on the occasion of the 7 Kislev Yahrzeit of his mother, Sarah bas Shmuel.

Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah.  He may be contacted via [email protected]


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