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Freedom of Religion: Parashat Ki Tisa

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about Moses receiving the Luchot (Tablets) on which G-d inscribed the 10 commandments.  The verse states; “The script was the script of G-d engraved on the tablets.”

The Hebrew word that the Torah uses for engraved, “Charut” can also be read as “Cheirut” which means, Freedom (since there are no vowels in the Torah).  This lead the Rabbis to comment in Ethics of our Fathers: “One can not be truly free unless he studies Torah.”

Since the Torah is teaching us two ideas from one word ie. that the script was engraved and that the Torah brings the person freedom, there must be a connection between these two ideas.

We can explain the connection through a quote by the sculptor Michelangelo, who although not Jewish had teachers who were knowledgeable in the Kaballah and incorporated Jewish themes in his art.  He was once asked how he was able to sculpt such magnificent angels, he replied that when he looks at the slab of marble, he sees the angel trapped inside of it and he continues to carve until he sets it free.

The same can be said regarding the Torah, the nature of the human being is a composite of good and bad.  At times, we become enslaved and somewhat addicted to the bad within us.  The laws of the Torah are meant to carve away the bad that is within us and thereby set us free.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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