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Shir ha-Shirim XVI Part One: Sefirah 20

Rabbi Azariah, or, as some say, Rabbi Elazar, and Rabbi Yosei ben Rabbi Chaninah, and the Sages, gave different illustrations: Rabbi Elazar said: A King had a cellar full of wine. One guest came to him and the King diluted it with some water and gave it to him. A second guess came and the team did the same; he diluted it with some water and gave it to. When the king’s son came, the king gave him the entire cellar.


So too, Adam received Seven Commandments, as it is written, “And God, the Lord, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden you must eat (Genesis 2:16).” “Commended,” implies an injunction against idolatry, as it is written, “Because he willingly walked after the commandment (Hosea 5:11).” (God,” implies an injunction against last for me, as it says, “And he who blasphemes the Name of God, shall surely be put to death (Vayikra 24:16).” “The Lord,” refers to the establishment of a legal system, as it says, “The cause of both parties shall come before the Lord (Shemot 22:8).” “The man,” implies the injunction against murder, as it says, “He who sheds man’s blood (Genesis 9:6).” “Saying,” implies the injunction against immorality, as it is written, “Saying, if a man put away his wife and she goes from him (Jeremiah 3:1).” “Of every tree in the garden,” implies the injunction against robbery, as it is written, “Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you to not (Genesis 3:11).”

Noah received in addition the prohibition of eating a limb from a living animal, as it is written, “Only flesh with the life in it which is the blood (11:4).”

Abraham received the command of circumcision. Isaac inaugurated its performance on the eighth day. Jacob was commanded regarding the sinew of the thigh vein, as it is written, “Therefore the children of Israel shall not eat the sinew (32:33).” Judah received the command of the levirate marriage, as it says, “And Judah said to Onan: Go to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a husbands brother to her (38:8).”

Israel, however, ate the fruits of all the precepts both positive and negative. (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1.2:5, Part One)

Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, each received a diluted cup of wine. The Children of Israel were given the entire wine cellar. They were given a gift greater than any received by any of those great heroes of the past.

When we study the laws of the Torah, we must approach it with the appreciation of the fact that all the laws we have are our being granted a gift greater than any received by Adam, Noah, the patriarchs, and the Twelve sons of Jacob. We cannot study the laws as impositions. We must study them as an expression of a grand gift that allows us access to everything.

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