Many things in this world exist as pairs. There is Man and Woman; there are the Heavens and the land, and so on. Our world is built upon a foundation of these relationships. There is only one true existence which is without a pair, which is Hashem. Everything else not only has a pair but must have a pair. Torah is also two, Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh. With all of these pairs there are parallels in which one pair will personify the other as well. Man and Woman are parallel to Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh. This is because the nature of Man is to transmit and nourish, whereas Woman is to take in and develop. The Torah Sh’Bichsav is composed of pasukim. Torah Sh’Baal Peh conveys the meaning of the pasukim.
I recently heard an incredible explanation of a cryptic statement of the Chazal (T.Z 21) from my great Rebbi, Rav Nochum Lansky Shlita. He explained that when Moshe hit the rock instead of speaking with it, serious repercussions followed. The relationship between Torah Sh’Baal Peh and Torah Sh’Bichsav was deeply disturbed. The level of understanding of Torah Sh’Baal Peh was hindered; no longer would there be clarity among all. Now there will be questions, difficulties, and even disagreements. The concept of a Rebbi or teacher of Torah became essential. This is hinted by the word מריבה , since it contains the letters רבי .
While my Rebbi didn’t explain why this punishment was a consequence of this particular sin, I would like to suggest a possibility. It is specifically through dibur that Moshe Rabbeinu was instructed. It is well known that the both speech and hearing were used in the chayte of the Etz HaDaas. The Nachash spoke lashon harah about Hashem and gave an aitzah raah as well. Speech is known to be one of the main differences between animals and man. We have bechirah and speech; they have neither. Speech is so special because of its refinement. Through careful adjustments of our mouth and tongue, we are able to make precise sounds that communicate specific messages. A person who is angry, instead of speaking may bang his hand on the table to convey his point, when he really is just trying to get your attention.
It is well beyond me to convict Moshe Rabbeinu of any wrong doing. Rather I am simply trying to understand the reason as to why Moshe Rabbeinu deserved punishment. I would like to clarify that it may not have been as much as a punishment as it was an affect. Meaning that Moshe Rabbeinu was the one who transmitted the Torah from Hashem to Bnei Yisroel. It could be that due to his favoring his staff over his words, he created a shift in the World that made the Torah that he said over more unclear. That means that his ability to teach Torah to
Bnei Yisroel is the same as the ability to cause water to flow. When he was unable to utilize this strength properly it weakened it entirely.
The other understanding could have been that due to the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu used his staff instead of his words, Hashem punished Bnei Yisroel by making it that they would need to work harder to understand what they are being told.
The damage that was done by the hitting of the rock has been instilled in our relationship to the Torah. In reality the Torah was never created as one, but rather as a pair that functioned in unison. The perfect model of a relationship is where one gives and the other takes in and utilizes. Where one side takes or gives too much, there is a lack of balance.
It is well known that there are several parables associated with the relationship of Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh. The bond between Man and Woman is by far the most recognized. It is the Man who represents the Torah Sh’Bichsav and the Woman who represents the Torah Sh’Baal Peh. The Man is the one who gives and provides whereas the Woman receives and utilizes.
Torah Sh’Bichsav is the source of Torah Sh’Baal Peh as Torah Sh’Bichsav is the basis of what Torah Sh’Baal Peh explains. Torah Sh’Baal Peh interprets Torah Sh’Bichsav and gives meaning to the text that would have been unable to be comprehended otherwise.
Chazal teach us that there is a dispute in regards to the berachos for a new married couple, whether two berachos are made in regards to the forming of Man or just one. First the gemara (Kesubos 8a) questions if there were two formations. The gemara rejects the possibility that there were more than one formation and suggests that the question is if the berachos are determined by the thought or the action that was carried out. There is one pasuk that suggests that there was a thought to create two, but the action that was carried out was only one.
The Maharsha says on that gemara, that just as there was a thought to create the World with the attribute of din and saw that the World would not stand, similarly, there was a thought to create Man and Woman separately like all the other creatures. It was apparent that Man would
be unbalanced and saddened so Man was created as one with the potential to bring themselves together as one body.
Man was created as one and not as two. The Torah states shortly after the creation of Man:
“ויאמר ה’ אלקים לא טוב היות האדם לבדו אעשה לו עזר כנגדו” (בראשית ב, יח)
Even within the creation of Man as one, there was a need for Woman. The World could not stand if they were created separately. However once they were created as one, it was described as “לא טוב “, not good for Man to be by himself.
It is without a question that this was the intention. There was no mistake or that Hashem changed his mind, chas v’shalom. It was essential that Man and Woman be created as one. It is my understanding that Man and Woman had to be created in a single formation to the extent that they were one body, as that would truly bind them as one.
Through the parallel of Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh being Man and Woman respectively, there must be continuity to this thought. Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh were to be created as two. It was understood that the World could not stand that way, and so the Torah in its entirety was created through one.
Torah Sh’Bichsav was created just as Man was created, and then Hashem said, it was not good by himself. Man personifies the concept of one who gives. Without the ability to give, Man is unable to exercise his will. Similarly, Torah Sh’Bichsav is to be interpreted by Torah Sh’Baal Peh.
The separation of Man and Woman as well as Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh is a state to enable unity in a way that closest resembles the only true one, Hashem. While nothing can be one as Hashem, it is evidently clear that Torah and Man were created in a way that they should mimic closely.
Through the hitting of the rock Moshe Rabbeinu further separated the relationship between Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh. A major role in our lives is to unite the two, Man and Woman which is the two parts of Torah.
There is a wonderful Dvar Torah in the Tashbetz Katan (465) that explains many connections between the receiving of the Torah and marriage. To name a few:
- · Just as Bnei Yisroel fasted before Matan Torah so too the Chassan and Kallah fast
- · There are ten times that Bnei Yisroel is called Kallah, (seven times in שה”ש and three times in other seforim. There must be a connection between the seven and three)
- · Those ten times are keneged the Aseres HaDibros
- · As well as the ten people needed to make the shevah berachos which we learn from Boaz.
- · Just as the even of the Aseres HaDibros were handed over, so too a Chassan gives his Kallah her kesubah
- · “חתן על כלה” בגימטריא “התורה”
- · “חתן על כלה” בגימטריא “תרי”ג” וגימטריא “משה רבינו”
The marriage between Man and Woman is to bring these two separate individuals together. To unify themselves, to be as close to one body as possible. On the chag of Shavuos, there is also a marriage between Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh, just as there is by Man and Woman.
We saw from the Tashbetz and originally from Chazal, that we learn the law that the Shevah Berachos must be with ten men from Boaz. Boaz became the husband of Rus who was the great grandfather of Dovid HaMelech. On Shavuos we read Sefer Rus because she was m’gayer just as Bnei Yisroel did. We know that Mashiach is called Mashiach Ben Dovid. Rus represents the potential to bring the geulah. There is an obvious connection between the Shevah Berachos and Boaz. As we saw the Tashbetz notes that seven of the ten times that Bnei Yisroel are called Kallah are in Shir HaShirrim. He is making a connection between the number seven which personifies the attribute of Malchus which is Shlomo HaMelech, who wrote Shir HaShirrim. The Tashbetz is directly making a connection between the ten people needed for the Shevah Berachos and the Asres HaDibros.
Rebbi Akiva is called the Av of Torah Sh’Baal Peh, he was the son of a ger. Dovid HaMelech comes from Rus who was a geuris and from Yehuda and Tamar. Rus was a Moavis who came from the Lot and his daughter. Dovid HaMelech had Shlomo HaMelech through Bat Shevah. We see a theme that Torah Sh’Baal Peh comes from outside of the norm of Bnei Yisroel. Coming from gerim and from prohibited relations. This is because Torah Sh’Baal Peh is the choshech and that which is lacking and imperfect. This is how Torah Sh’Baal Peh binds with Torah Sh’Bichsav.
I want to suggest that the Shevah Berachos are the Torah Sh’Baal Peh as they are learned from Boaz, and the Aseres HaDibros is the essence of Torah Sh’Bichsav. In this relationship we see how they can become one. Therefore it is understood that the geulah will come through the yichud of Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh.
The whole world stands on these principles. The bond between Man and Woman is connected to the bond between Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh. This model extends to Klal Yisroel as well. In this relationship, Hashem is the Chassan giving to Bnei Yisroel. If we are lacking unity, we are not a vessel that is capable of receiving the Torah. That is why at the time of Matan Torah, all of Bnei Yisroel were m’gayer. They all became new people…without any blemish…nothing between them.
In the other relationship between Torah Sh’Bichsav and Torah Sh’Baal Peh, if the Torah Sh’Baal Peh doesn’t properly interpret the Torah and complete the relationship, there will be a lacking, a distancing. The sfaykos that came from the hitting of the rock caused more difficulty in understanding Torah Sh’Baal Peh. There is a great need to understand it and then apply it to the Torah Sh’Bichsav. Without this, the balance of giving and receiving is off.
On Shavuos we are in a way “renewing our vows”. We accept the Torah as we did the first time. Had we accepted the Torah fully and did everything we could do, in regards to unity as Klal Yisroel and in our learning of Torah, making it shalaim, we would have had the geulah. This year we should go and m’gayer ourselves! Remove the sinas chinum and truly embrace all of Bnei Yisroel. Make Klal Yisroel a kli kibbul that can properly accept the Torah HaKedoshah. Then take the beautiful Torah, the holy of holies. Learn it and treasure it. Unite the Torah Sh’Bichsav with the Torah Sh’Baal Peh. Let the true will of Hashem Yisborach be “מלא הארץ דעה “, and the World will see clearly the Torah for what it is.