I will echo myself: I still hear echoes:
“And these are the laws that you shall place before them.”
“This is the Torah that Moses placed before the Children of Israel.”
I believe that there is another difference between “Giving” a law, or “Placing the Law before”:
In my mind a given law is absolute. There are strict and unbending guidelines. The law is fixed. The Talmud teaches in Bava Metzia 30b that Jerusalem was destroyed because the leaders ruled, the courts put forth and the people practiced absolute law. They were inflexible. Jerusalem could not survive.
Torah is not “Given” law, it has been “Placed” before us to direct us, to guide us, but always with gentleness and compassion. Rabbi Akiva Sofer in his Tzuf Devash taught that the true measure of a leader or Beit Din –Jewish Court- is the ability to render decisions that lead to peace, healing, wholeness and happiness. To use the Torah as it is “Before” us and them LaHaloch – to Move forward with it – to digest its meaning and focus, to breathe the Torah’s approach to life and then nurture us and move us forward.
And there’s more..
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