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AN IVY LEAGUE SIMCHAT TORAH

by Rabbi David Zauderer    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

This Sunday we will be celebrating Simchat Torah, the day that we rejoice with our holy Torah. Well, if we are going to dance and rejoice with the Torah, it would be good to understand just what is so great about the Torah and its value system, in order that that we gain a better appreciation of what it is we’re so happy about.

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This Sunday we will be celebrating Simchat Torah, the day that we rejoice with our holy Torah. Well, if we are going to dance and rejoice with the Torah, it would be good to understand just what is so great about the Torah and its value system, in order that that we gain a better appreciation of what it is we’re so happy about. The truth is that the greatness of G-d’s holy book cannot be covered in these few lines. The Torah is as infinite as its Author is. But let me at least share with you one aspect of the Torah which, in my humble opinion, is definitely worth dancing about. One of the songs traditionally sung on Simchat Torah is "Edus Hashem Ne’emana, Machkimas Pessi -- the testimonies of G-d are absolute, enlightening the unwise." What this means in plain English is that the Torah lays down for us a G-d-given set of absolute values -- values that stand the test of time and reason. This stands in contrast to what I saw in a recent issue of Reader’ Digest qouted from Australian philosopher Peter Singer who has been appointed to an endowed chair in bioethics at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values. In his 1993 book, Practical Ethics, which he says he will assign to students for a course on "Questions of Life and Death," he writes, "killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all." How is it that every seven-year-old child that studies the Torah in school knows that it is absolutely evil to kill any infant, but an Ivy-league professor of bioethics hasn’t figured it out? The Torah gives us a Divine absolute value system to live (and die) by, and for that alone, we should be dancing around the Torah all day long! Our job is just to study and find out what are the values that G-d has laid out for us in His holy Torah. They make lots of sense, and what’s more, they originate from a Divine source. It’s either that or Princeton -- you be the judge!

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Rabbi David Zaudereris a card carrying member of Atlanta Scholars Kollel.

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