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INSIGHT: Shulchan-Aruch – From Teacher to Student

Mishneh Torah – Parshas VaEschanan

Mishneh Torah – Parshas VaEschanan

Welcome to Parshas VaEschanan! It’s the second Parsha in the Book of Devarim, a.k.a. Mishneh Torah. Mishneh Torah means “a repetition of the Torah,” but it’s more than just a review of the previous 4 books! It’s those points in the Torah Moshe Rabbeinu decided that need to be repeated, again and again and again, in preparation of a new era – a new generation entering the Holy Land!

In the words of the Holy Rabbi Moshe Alsheich (1508-1593):

על כן רצה משה לחזר כל התורה, תהיה לפניהם כשולחן ערוך סמוך לביאתם.

Therefore, [here in Devarim, a.k.a. Mishneh Torah] Moshe wanted to review the entire Torah, so, just before they were about to enter the land, it would be as clear to them as a Shulchan-Aruch, which literally means a neatly set table.

Toras Moshe, Alsheich, Parshas VaEschanan

Get ready for some really important things here in the Parsha. I mean, really, really important! Now, what could be more important than the Ten Commandments? Perhaps Shma Yisrael, you may say? Well, guess what?! Both the Ten Commandments and Shma appear here in our Parsha, Parshas VaEschanan!

Shazak insight

Shulchan-Aruch – From Teacher to Student

The Holy Alsheich referred to the book of Devarim, Mishneh Torah, as a set table, a Shulchan-Aruch. Does this name ring a bell? It’s the most famous Code of Jewish Law, written by one of the greatest Torah giants of all time, Rabbi Yosef Karo of Tzfat, a city in northern Israel. Shulchan-Aruch is a clear, concise list of all Jewish laws, guiding us from the time we wake up in the morning until the time we go to sleep at night. It is a carefully organized book – like a beautifully set table. No wonder he named it Shulchan-Aruch – “the set table.”

And guess what? Rabbi Moshe Alsheich was Rabbi Yosef Karo’s student! Could it be that the Holy Alsheich had his teacher’s Shulchan-Aruch book in mind when he wrote,

“it should be as clear to them as a Shulchan-Aruch”? After all, the Book of Devarim was sort of the “Code of Jewish Law” for Bnei Yisrael now entering Eretz Yisrael!

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