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Moshe 3: Two Pillars

“Our sages taught that all the books of the Prophets and Writings, in scroll for, should be closed by rolling them from beginning to end. The Torah scroll, however, is rolled from both sides, toward the middle. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Rabbi Tzaddok,

taught that such is the way the ‘Jerusalem writers of books’ would make their books.” (Bava Batra 14a)

Many people approach the world as a dichotomy. There are those who focus solely on the physical, and reject even the idea of the spiritual. There are others who see the physical as only a temptation, a covering over of the spiritual. They believe that we must focus on rejecting the physical and searching only for the spiritual.

The Torah scroll is not wrapped or rolled from beginning to end. It is always rolled toward a center. Torah does not see the world as one or the other, but as an opportunity to combine both the physical and the spiritual.

Moshe embodied this aspect of Torah. He was not only the Prophet; he had the Halachic status of the King of Israel. Moshe was not only the Spiritual leader of the people; he took care of their physical needs as well.

No wonder the Midrash (Devarim Rabbah; V’zot HaBeracha) teaches that Moshe, the Man of the Lord, was human only in his lower half. His upper half was entirely spiritual. He only demanded of others that they live as human beings. He demanded more of himself. This is how he achieved the ability to live in heaven for 40 days and nights without eating or drinking. He could exist for 40 days and nights without food and water, but he argued for his people to be supplied with Manna and water.

The true Torah teacher and Rebbi must always be wound from both sides. He must live with as one striving to reach the highest heavens, and yet, must care for his students as human beings. (Machberes Avodas Hashem)

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