Counting the Omer with the Mussar Va'ad of Temple Israel
Day 13 — Studying the Written and Oral Torah
Mikra & Mishna • מקרא ומשנה
By Rabbi Dovid Nussbaum, Jerusalem, Israel
At first glance, studying the Mikrah (Five Books of Moses) seems simple enough. Most of us are familiar with the stories told, and the laws set down in the Torah. This being so fundamental and basic, it's a wonder why it should be considered a prerequisite for acquiring Torah.
I personally heard from Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, of blessed memory, the following thought. Many of us were taught the Five Books of Moses as grade schoolers. As a result, the imprint left on us is one befitting a young, shallow and simple mind. What a pity it is to go through life basing the knowledge and understanding of the Mikrah on the impressions and comprehensions of a youngster.
As a grown adult, with depth and the ability to grasp concepts not understandable for a child, the grownup can gain immensely and can be empowered and transformed by a newfound meaning of one of the many stories the Mikrah focuses on and from the many laws mentioned in the Five Books of Moses. It is therefore no wonder that the study of Mikrah is a vital prerequisite to acquiring the Torah to its fullest extent.
The Mishna is, in essence, the initial source for Halacha (Jewish Law), which is the practical guide to observing the Torah. The study of the Mishna is therefore considered an important step in attaining Torah, the ultimate guide to practical Jewish living.
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