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Thought for the Day: Yes; the Avos Even Lit Chanuka Licht

I think it was about fifth grade, when we started learning about earth sciences, that the term "Law of Gravity" came up.  We enjoyed joking, "Wow; I wonder what people did before that law was passed!"  Peals of laughter among the chevra.  Yes; I was a dweeb from a very early age.  (In case you don't know what a dweeb is, here is the definition from geek  is any smart person with an obsessive interest, a nerd  is the same but also lacks social grace, and a dweeb  is a mega-nerd.  Btw... the fact that I bothered to look that up and note it should remove any lingering doubts you may have had about my dweebishness.)

Obviously, the laws of physics have existed since sheishes y'mei b'reishis.  The Greeks could have had laptop computers; they just didn't.  Imagine you could time transport the disk from a laptop computer back to the 1950s.  After much time they might be able to work out that there is a very tiny magnetic field around the disk with even tinier variations.  With a lot more work, they might discover a pattern to the seeming anarchy and perhaps even figure out how to break it down into a sequence of codes.  That, however, would be the end.  There would be no way to know what's data, what's program, what's control information, etc.  They've never seen nor imagined anything like this, so they are completely in the dark.

Unless you also give them the keys to understand the codes.  A list of how the disk stores information.  Which part is data, which part is program, which code means "load file", which part means "play song", etc.  But there is no possible way to know that without an infusion of knowledge from the outside.

The Avos haK'doshim were able to look at the world and realize there was a system, a pattern.  They then realized there must be a Creator who wanted to be discovered.  They dedicated their lives to that endeavor and were reward with a deep and fundamental understanding of the world as well as there role; which was to finish the work of creation -- to partner with the Creator Himself.  They could feel that the world needed destruction of chameitz and eating of matzah in spring.  They could feel that the their part in creation required building a sukkah in autumn.  They could even feel the world needed them to light candles in winter.

All of that earned the greatest gift of all... the actual blueprint of creation was given as an inheritance to their children.  But you need keys to unlock the secrets contained in that blueprint.  Historical events are those keys.  We eat matzah on Pesach because the world needs us to; we know that because of Y'tzi'as Mitzrayim.  The world needs us to live in huts during Sukkos; we know that because of the Ananei haKavod.  The world needs us to light candles during Chanuka; we know that because of the Chashmonayim.

The obligations we know because of the keys (historical events) before Matan Torah are known as d'oraisoh.  The obligations we know because of the keys (historical events) after Matan Torah are known as d'rabanan.  The obligations themselves, however, are eternal; even more so than the Law of Gravity.


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