Weekly Letter: Naaseh V’Nishma and the Torah
In this weeks letter, The Rebbe explains how naaseh v’nishma, is not only a necessary condition of accepting the Torah – but additionally, as the true method to the understanding of the Torah and everything connected with it. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
17 of Sivan, 5731
I am in receipt of your letter in which you write about the concept of Torah min Ha’Shomayim.
It is somewhat surprising that you should write to me on this subject, or that you should have any problems about it, inasmuch as the matter is adequately treated in various sources, especially if you have discussed it orally with your yeshivah teachers, as you note in your letter.
You write that you are interested in positive proof, but I do not know what you mean by “positive”. If you are referring to so-called scientific proof, this has also been given in various sources. Some aspects on the matter will be found in the enclosed brochure, though very brief.
Inasmuch as everything is by hashgacha protis, some practical use must come from this exchange of correspondence. I therefore trust you will not take amiss my following observations.
When we accept the Torah on the basis of Naaseh (first and then) v’Nishma, this was not only a necessary condition of accepting the Torah in general, but this approach also serves as the true method to the understanding of the Torah and everything connected with it. This is also evidenced from the Gemoro (Shabbos 88, a/b), where we find that through the Naaseh v’Nishma approach, by accepting G-d’s Will unquestioningly, and with complete faith, and not let any distracting thoughts interfere with the observance of the Torah and mitzvos in the daily life, leads to the fulfillment of the verse: “The wholeheartedness of the upright shall lead them.” (Prov. 11:3), whereas without this approach the end of that verse is inevitable.
To put it another way, if one truly wants to understand the Torah and be given deep insights into it, it is necessary to realize that the Torah is quite different from any other science. For example, there can be a great physician who is an expert on every aspect of internal medicine etc., who can give true and effective prescriptions and directions to his patients, yet in his own personal life he may act in a way quite contrary to his own directives. But insofar as the Torah and mitzvos are concerned, of which it is written, “For they are our life and the length of our days,” theory and practice cannot be separated, for it is only through the practice of the Torah and mitzvos that they can be appreciated and understood, as mentioned above, and as also our Sages of blessed memory expressed it, “If he is worthy and lives accordingly, the Torah becomes an elixir of life for him and if not (G-d forbid), then – “ etc.
Needless to say, the purpose of the above is not to preach, but with all due respect, to urge you to strengthen your adherence to the Torah and mitzvos in the daily life, and then you will find that your doubts and questions will disappear or, at any rate, you will become more sensitive and receptive to the ideas and concepts which have been expounded by our great thinkers in resolving any doubts and questions in regard to the Torah.
I would also like to suggest that you have your tefillin checked to make sure they are kosher, as well as the mezuzo in your room.
Wishing you hatzlocho in your Torah studies, the kind of study that leads to the fulfillment of the mitzvos, as our Sages expressed it, “The essential thing is the deed.”
The above letter is from The Letter and the Spirit by Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP).
These letters were written originally in English and were prepared for publication by Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel, whose responsibility it was the Rebbe’s correspondence in English and several other languages.
We thank Rabbi Shalom Ber Schapiro, who was entrusted by his father-in-law Rabbi Mindel with his archives and who is Director of the Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP), for making the Rebbe’s letters available to the wider public. May the merit of the many stand him in good stead.