Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chukas: Tumah and Taharah (audio)

This morning, the Rebbe, shlit"a, fielded a question about the nature of tumah and taharah, ritual purity and impurity. In the shiur, the Rebbe discussed the idea that Hashem defines reality how He sees fit, and that we are not privy to knowing the rhyme or reason behind it. Just like we don't why copper has the qualities to make it a good electrical conductor and why rubber lacks those characteristics, so too we have no insight into why certain things render tumah or taharah. This idea is brought out best by the parah adumah which has the seemingly contradictory qualities. On the one hand it purifies the one who was impure, but at the same time the one who is administering the tahara becomes tamei. It is a chok and a secret, its metziyus (reality), something that the Ribono Shel Olam determines to be. However, once we clarify that truth, we can then step back and ask, "But what can I learn from this?" Chazal suggest insights into the parah adumah; there are lessons to be learned. But the reasons why Hashem established the particular peculiar nature of the parah adumah in the manner that He did remains a chok.

Using tzaar baalei chayim as an example, the Rebbe said that the same concept applies to Jewish morality. The Torah-based set of morals that we adhere are not like universal ethics. Hashem defines what is ethical, not man. So we have to remember that when Hashem says not to pain animals, that is not because it is unethical to do so; it is because Hashem established it as important. When there is a purpose for causing pain to an animal such as shechting an animal to eat or cancer research, Hashem mandates that there is no longer an issue with harming an animal. Once we know that midos and derech eretz are not valuable in and of themselves but only because Hashem defined them as a way of coming close to Him and a means of perfecting man, then we can begin to explore the other comprehensible implications and lessons to be learned.

At the end of shiur the Rebbe quoted a famous vort from the Shem MiShmuel about the nature of tumah.
19 minutes, 4.5 MB PLAY DOWNLOAD

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