You shall not add and you shall not subtract…

In this week’s Torah portion we have the prohibitions of:  [verse 3]  “Lo to’seefoo…ve’lo tee’gra’oo…”  you may not add to Torah, nor may you detract from Torah.  You cannot add Halacha nor say a Halacha is no longer part of the Torah.

First of all, that, my friends, tells you how anyone lifting Torah from us and then mucking around with it by adding or taking away commandments are 100% wrong…by the very Torah they are trying to claim as their own.

But, you might question…I understand why we can’t take away commandment G-d gave us…but why can’t we try to outdo ourselves and add to the commandments.

The Maggid of Dubno explains why not.  He tells the story of  a poor person who went to his next- door-rich-neighbor and borrowed a Kiddush cup.  The rich man gave it to him and after Shabbos the poor man returned the Kiddush cup along with a smaller silver cup.  Asked the rich man, “What’s with the smaller cup?”  Said the poor man, “the Kiddush cup had a baby over Shabbos – this is the baby.”  The rich man wasn’t going to argue the point and kept the small cup.  The next Shabbos the poor man borrowed the rich man’s silver candle holders.  After Shabbos, the rich man waited to see what would be returned…but nothing was returned.  Sunday came and went and nothing.  Monday, the rich man went to the poor man to ask for his silver back.  Said the poor man, “Sorry, it was sad, but your candlesticks died.”  “Died!” screamed the rich man, “they aren’t alive- – they can’t die.”  The poor man looked at him sadly and said, “If silver cups can have babies, then silver candle holders can die.”  Said the Dubno Maggid, ‘when you begin to add to the Torah, you eventually think you can detract from it.’

But it is also more serious than that – the minute you begin tinkering, either through adding or taking away Halacha, what you really are saying is that you think you know better than G-d.  Therefore, no one is allowed to add to or take away any Halacha.  Only G-d knows the precise measurement of what we are bound to do or what we are forbidden to do.

In fact, that is the original sin, my learned friends.  G-d said to Adam, you may not eat from that one tree.  And Adam said, “I will be able to serve G-d better with an evil inclination…and, therefore, in order to serve G-d better, I will eat from the tree.”  He was expected to serve G-d the way G-d wanted to be served…NOT the way he reasoned would be the “greater” service.

Our Torah is perfect.  No one has the right to tinker with it.  The moment they do, is the moment they impugn G-d’s greatness.  Only He knows what we should be allowed or forbidden to do.



About jewishspectacles

Jewish Spectacles-the kind you look through, not the kind you create!
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