Let My People Know

"The Torah is called Eve, the mother of all life"


One of the problems of men of genius is the limited nature of inspiration. 

In the sciences, such as physics, original thinkers seem to have an effective life-span like that of football players; most of their original work is done at an early age. 

To be sure, a whole lifetime may be necessary to expand and develop a single flash of such enlightenment. 

This many-sided relationship, which is the relationship between Chochmah and Binah, also characterizes the Written Torah and Oral Torah. 

It is self-evident that the revelatory nature of the Written Torah is of the nature of Chochmah. 

The Oral Torah, however, has many facets. 

A prominent part was played by Rabbi Akiva, who explicated and explained every "kotz" or detail of Halachah law and custom, under the assumption that they were not sufficiently revealed. 

He built a system of rules based on new disclosures, on reasoning, and on addi¬tional or qualifying opinions. 

Wisdom may indeed be seen as the wholeness, the entire structure of thought, but its essence lies in a certain core of perfection or truth that requires amplification. 

And this extension, even application, is already of the nature of Binah. It is not necessarily an increase in clarity or precision; it is a development of the original idea. 

The Written Torah comes to us with letters, which are the foundation stones, and with "Tagim," or tiny increments or "crowns" to some of the letters, "Nekudot," or marks indicating how the text should be read, and "Taamim," or musical notes indicating how it should be chanted. 

These additional elements indicate ever higher modes of grasping the meaning of the text. 

Wondrous secrets are thus encompassed in both revealed and hidden features of Torah. 

That is to say, the Written Torah needs endless amplification, study, and clarification. 

There are infinite layers of meaning, depthless beauty, and new modes of experientially living to be revealed. 

In another context of thinking, the Written Torah can be likened to a seed that can grow into a whole organism, like a tree or a person. 

For instance, the Torah injunction to keep the Sabbath holy was expanded into a huge volume of the Talmud, and on it many books were written. 

Perhaps for this reason, among others, the Torah is called Chavah (Eve), the mother of all life. 

It gives birth to much that in turn is the source of other products of mind and spirit. 

There is also the factor of emergence from the hidden, the bringing forth after an embryonic period of gestation. 
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From In the Beginning p. 44 by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz