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Taking it with You-Givat Shaul-Mishpatim-Eternal Life

The 24th of Shevat is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Shaul Halevi Mortorah (Mortira), Av Beis Din of Amsterdam, author of Givat Shaul (1660). It is the nature of all created beings to strive to continue to live, as we see when King Solomon insists that a lazy person learn about work from an ant, and when King David speaks of the bird searching for a home and security.


However, more than all other living things, it is man who searches for eternal life because he has an intellect. He therefore find all sorts of means to extend his life, cures, many clothes, large homes, all sorts of things that will protect him from death and bring him a longer life.

Even the righteous fear death. This can be because the righteous person worries for his children and his grandchildren and how they will continue to live after he dies. This can be because the righteous person wants to live as long as possible and increase his merit in the World to Come. This can also be because the righteous person is always concerned that he will lose his merit by sinning; he does not trust in his own righteousness.

It is therefore, the person who is searching for eternity, who should search for that which promises the most eternal life. In this is Torah. All the laws in this week’s portion, Mishpatim, are the keys to living an eternal life. (Opening paragraph of Givat Shaul on MIshpatim)

“Blessed is He, our Lord, Who created us for His glory, separated us from those who stray, gave us the Torah of truth and implanted eternal life within us.” We pray that we merit being able to access the Torah’s wisdom and laws so that we may merit to achieve eternal life through our actions in this life.


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