The Alter Rebbe's advice to "live with the time" is not a nod to modernity, but a call to delve into the Torah's intricate and often hidden wisdom. * Through engaging deeply with the weekly Torah portion, we're not merely surviving these perilous times, but thriving, edging closer to a world of ultimate unity and peace. * On the Hayom Yom entry for 2 Menachem Av.
When the Alter Rebbe told his followers to "live with the time," as stated in the Hayom Yom for 2 Menachem Av, the meaning was far from obvious. The Jewish ethos often steers clear of fleeting trends in favor of the eternal truths found in the Torah. Later clarification by his brother R. Yehuda Leib revealed the depth of this statement. The Rebbe was telling us to live with the Torah, specifically the weekly portion, making its teachings a vital part of our daily life. "One should not only learn the weekly parsha every day, but live with it," the Hayom Yom urges.
Now, when we think of "living" with the Torah, it's not about a cursory read or even a detailed study. It's about deeply internalizing its teachings, seeking to uncover the intricate wisdom often hidden in what may seem like arbitrary details or stories. It's akin to unearthing treasures hidden in plain sight, or as the sages would say, finding the "wisdom in the hint" (chochma b'remiza).
But why are these treasures hidden? Why does the Torah speak to us in riddles or parables? This is where the notion of the Torah as the "Primordial Parable" (Mashal HaKadmoni) comes into play. The Torah is replete with layers of meaning, not just to be intellectually stimulating but to draw us into a more profound relationship with the divine wisdom it contains.
So, the Alter Rebbe's call to "live with the time" can be seen as an invitation to engage deeply with these multi-layered teachings. Each week, as we immerse ourselves in the current Torah portion, we are not just adhering to tradition but decoding an intricate divine message crafted for that specific time. And in doing so, we become both the reader and the interpreter, personally involved in revealing the Torah's timeless wisdom.
This practice takes on additional significance in today's turbulent world, where the Jewish community often faces threats and challenges. By collectively focusing on the same portion, we not only gain individual insights but fortify our communal bonds. This unity, derived from a shared quest for divine wisdom, equips us with a spiritual resilience to face the world's difficulties.
And it doesn't end there. This way of life prepares us for the ultimate redemption—the coming of Moshiach. It's said that in that era, even the deepest layers of Torah wisdom will be laid bare for all to see. By "living" with the Torah now, we're making every day a step closer to that profound revelation.
As we navigate through our modern lives, the Alter Rebbe's sage advice remains as relevant as ever. By fully engaging with the timeless wisdom of the Torah, we're not just passing time; we're elevating it, edging closer each day to a world of ultimate unity and peace.