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“The world is sustained by three things,” says Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel in Ethics of the Fathers. “Law, truth, and peace.” Three essays that examine these three guises and functions of Torah.

The Torah: Law, Truth, and Peace

The Torah: Law, Truth, and Peace

Ethics 1:18

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They call us the “People of the Book” because of our legendary devotion to it. By law, we are required to pursue it every spare moment of the day and night. When a child is born, we wish his parents, “May you merit to raise him to Torah.” For four thousand years, the study of Torah has been the life’s occupation of the Jew and his highest mark of achievement.

To the Jew, the Torah is nothing less than the basis and objective of all existence. In the words of the Midrash, “G‑d made a condition with the work of creation: if the people of Israel accept the Torah, you will exist; if not, you will revert to chaos and nothingness.”

The following essays explore the nature and functions of the Torah and the significance of the revelation at Sinai, on Sivan 6 in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), at which G‑d granted the Torah to the people of Israel.

“The world is sustained by three things,” says Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel in Ethics of the Fathers. “Law, truth, and peace.” Our next three essays examine these three guises and functions of Torah: Truth, in both its relative and absolute forms, is the subject of the essay by that name; Peace defines Torah as the harmonizing factor in the diversity of creation, thereby explaining the Torah’s special association with the number “3’: Law looks at the “limitations” which a code of behavior seems to impose upon the bond-resistant spirit of man.

Ethics of the Fathers is a tractate of the Mishna that details the Torah's views on ethics and interpersonal relationships. Enjoy insights, audio classes and stories on these fascinating topics.
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