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Once I was walking on the road and a man encountered me and accosted me in a heretical way. He had knowledge of the Bible, but not of the Mishnah. He said to me, “The Bible was given to us at Sinai, but the Mishnah was not.”


I said to him, “My son, both the Bible and the Mishnah were spoken by the Almighty. What then is the difference between the Bible and the Mishnah?

Here is a parable:

A King had two servants whom he dearly loved. He gave each one of them a small amount of wheat and a bundle of flax. What did the wise servant do? He took the flax and wove it into a tablecloth. He took the wheat and made flour out of it, which he then sifted, ground, kneaded, and baked. Then he spread the tablecloth upon the table and placed the bread on it. He left it that way until the king came to visit.

The foolish servant did not do anything.

Eventually, the king entered his home and said to his servants, ” My sons, bring me what I gave you.”

The wise servant brought out the loaves of bread on a table with a cloth spread over it . The foolish servant brought out the wheat in a box and a bundle of flax on top of it. What an embarrassment!

Which of the two servants is the favorite? The one who brought out the tablecloth with the bread on it. 

So too, when God gave the Torah to Israel, He gave the Torah to them in the form of wheat from which to produce bread, and flax from which to make clothing. (Tanna d’Bei Eliyahu)

HaChodesh is to remind us to take the wheat and flax of Torah and work with both until we can make our own bread and clothing. God looks to see what we do with the gifts He has given us. He rejoices in what we are Mechadeish; how we creatively use His gifts.

By: Rabbi Simcha Weinberg, n''y


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