Before long people would be unsure what constituted the original Torah prohibition to be avoided – the road? The wall? The field? The fence? Or was it possibly the pit?
In today’s society all too often the wrapping disguises the content of the package and like a child given a gift – the wrapping/’fence’ becomes the object and the gift/’law’ becomes secondary.
The fact is that most people have lost track of the basics. What is the raw halachah? What is the biblical injunction (with its Talmudic explanation)? Once this is learnt, then one can start to study the fences, walls and other elements that our Rabbis instituted to protect the biblical law. It isn’t easy – but Talmud Torah (learning Torah) is among the ultimate mitzvot. It is also imperative to learn what circumstances led rabbis to take these measures.
With that background and information the understanding of the development and evolution of halachah in general and that particular halachah will add depth to the performance of the mitzvah. To realize that the practice has a history gives the performance much more meaning and depth.
About the Author: Chaim Burg was born in New York and was strongly influence by the teachings of Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik and Rabbi Z.D. Kanotopsky. A graduate of Cooper Union, Burg spent most of his active business career as a communications consultant for major U.S. and international corporations. A well regarded author and lecturer, he mainly deals with thought provoking views on the evolution of Halacha. Burg made aliya in 1975.
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