Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Mishpatim

“‘All that God has spoken we will we do, and we will listen’” Exodus 24:7

    Possibly the most famous two words in the Torah, Na’aseh v’nishma (“We will we do, and we will listen”) have always evoked much commentary. But what can it mean to do God’s will before acquiring a thorough understanding of what God demands?

    The Gemara in Shabbat (88a) claims that the Children of Israel are likened to melachim (angels) at Mount Sinai, such that they serve God as emissaries, with a will that corresponds only to the will of God. A verse from Psalms is quoted as a proof text, since the order is the same: “God blesses His emissaries… those who do His word and listen to the voice of all His word” (103:20).

    Most tellingly, this verse is followed by another: “God blesses all His ministering hosts who do His will” (103:21). The Chasidic commentator, the Sefat Emet, states that oseh devaro, those who do, might also mean “those who create His word”, the Hebrew word oseh meaning both “doing” and “creating”. He suggests the doing of God’s will is the actualisation of God’s presence; our participation in mitzvot creates a world of Torah, bringing it to life.

    What do the children of Israel do to warrant such an appellation? Their response to the catalogue of mitzvot given in this week’s parashah is to submit completely to the will of God regardless, making God’s will their own.

    In other words, we human beings need sometimes not to be afraid to think of ourselves as angels in order to develop a relationship with God. As Rabbi Zvi Leshem of Efrat taught me, the morning blessing for women, “Who has made me according to Your will” is better translated as “Who has made me (my will) like Your will”. Apologetic? Possibly. But something for everyone to strive towards.

    RELATED STORIES

  • Sidrah

    Toldot

    Rabbi Joseph Dweck

    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Toldot
  • Sidrah

    Chayei Sarah

    Rabbi Debbie Young Somers

    Thursday, November 24, 2016

    Chayei Sarah
  • Sidrah

    Vayera

    Rabbi Joseph Wolfson

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    Vayera
Sidrah

Lech Lecha

Rabbi Daniella Kolodny

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lech Lecha
Sidrah

Chol Hamo'ed

Rabbi Mark Solomon

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chol Hamo'ed
Sidrah

Nitzavim

Rabbi Larry Tabick

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nitzavim
Sidrah

Noach

Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Noach
Sidrah

Ha'azinu

Rabbi Daniel Roselaar

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ha'azinu
Sidrah

Ki Tavo

Maureen Kendler

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ki Tavo
Sidrah

Bereshit

Rabbi Joseph Dweck

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bereshit
Sidrah

Vayelech

Dr Lynndy Levin

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Vayelech
Sidrah

Ki Tetzei

Rabbi Mark Solomon

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ki Tetzei