By Shalom Olensky
This week in the Torah:
“If you will proceed in My statutes and keep My commandments and fulfill them, I shall provide your rains in a timely manner and the Earth shall give forth its produce and the tree of the field shall give forth its fruit.” – Leviticus 26:3
“Proceeding in G-d’s statutes” would have meant simply fulfilling G-d’s commandments. However, since the verse mentions this theme explicitly in the coming phrase, therefore we understand that “proceeding in G-d’s statutes”refers to toiling in the study of Torah.
The term “G-d’s statutes” connotes those of G-d’s commandments that are in a manner of “decree,” i.e. above human rationale. Why is this supra-rational term used when referring to the study of Torah, of which the vast majority is intellectual?
The Hebrew word for statutes (“chukim”) is similar to the Hebrew word “chakikah,” which means engraving.
The lesson: The Torah must not only be “inscribed” upon us, wherein the inscribed messages are an entity unto themselves, although attached to the scroll they are written upon. Rather, we must represent Torah as it is engraved in an object, where the words are nothing of their own; they are but a part of the object they are engraved in. I.e., we must be not only attached to the Torah, but one with it.
This is achieved through the theme of “statutes” – something supra-rational. For, one is to toil in the Torah’s study not only to the degree that one’s delight in the Torah leads oneself to, but in a mode of subservience which pushes oneself to study beyond one’s limits, thereby becoming one with the Torah.
What does “proceeding” (“proceed in My…”) have to do with subservience (“statutes”)? One proceeds from level to level. What multiplicity of levels applies in subservience?
Faith implies that one understands to a degree, and faith is employed to matters that are supra-rational. It is this faith which is synonymous with the aforementioned subservience, which rises from level to level, commensurate with how far one’s comprehension increases in its reach.
Continuously toil in Torah study, and your mental capacity for a higher level of faith will increase, more and more.
(Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. 3, Bechukosai)