Tauber, Yanki. “The Inside Story: Volume 1”, The Meaningful Life Center, 2016.
There Are No Simple Stories
As we watch our world become more technological and filled with independent thinkers, we can only wonder if and hope that the Torah will continue to captivate and interest us as the world leans more to secularism. “The Inside Story, Volume 1” is based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, and we see how each and every event in the first book of Torah, Bereishit (please note that the transliteration in this book is in accord with traditional Ashkenazic Hebrew which I have here switched to the popular Sephardic style), is never just a simple story. The stories are there because they have something to teach us and are today they are as relevant as they were some 3000 years ago. but rather an eternal lesson as relevant today as it was 3,300 years ago.
We have been taught that our Bible is a blueprint for civilization and every detail of the Torah has a purpose. We may not see that but we can understand it. If we follow the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, we will find a path of life that brings ancient texts into relevance for modern lives.
The book is made up of 80 essays that give us the inner meaning of the Torah’s best known stories. Our characters here include Noah, Abraham, and Moses who teach us to love our fellow human beings teach us how to most effectively love our fellow beings. I have often wondered how Moses was able to do this with all of the complaining he constantly heard during our forty years of wandering. Jacob and Esau deal with the importance of each individual’s actions in the role of perfecting the world. The story of Dina tells us about the role of in Jewish society. With reading this book we find that the stories have new depth and relevance than just reading them at face value. I have always felt that the true beauty of Torah is that it makes us think. Here we see just how important Torah is for lives in contemporary society.
Yanki Taub takes the words of the Rebbe and presents them to us in ways that excite and captivate us as well as educate us. It is as if we are on a journey into a foreign world that suddenly not only opens for us but invites us in. There are so many questions that we have about the beginning or the world and later and while we may not get the answers we want, we do get a great deal to think about. Each of the eighty essays here explores an event or insight gained from one of the twelve weekly Torah readings of the book of Genesis and they help to deal with the major to questions of life as well as simpler concerns.
We cannot help but be aware of the events related to the rights to ownership of the land of Israel by the Jewish people. Perhaps taking a closer examination of our rightful inheritance of this land based upon biblical narrative would be a good thing to do. In this book we can find some of the most intelligent, literate and profound observations and interpretations of the biblical text. We get a sample of the deeper meanings that are at the core of the teachings of Judaism. On “Hayei Sarah” for example, we read that Abraham bought the first piece of the land of Israel and this had already been promised to him by God. “The entire land that you see, I will give to you and your descendants forever. … Arise and traverse the land, in its length and in its breadth, for to you I shall give it…” (Genesis 13). Is this not a land deed?
However, centuries passed before Abraham’s descendants took actual possession of the land under the leadership of Joshua. We learn that there are
three places in the Land of Israel over which the Jewish right of ownership is most powerfully established. Even those who deny the divine promise quoted above These are the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, purchased by King David from Aravnah the Jebusite; the section of Shechem (Nablus) purchased by Jacob from the family of Canaanite ruler Hamor; and the Machpelah Field of Hebron, purchased by Abraham as a burial place for his wife Sarah.”
We read here that this is also true for the entire land of Israel. “Israel is the eternal inheritance of the Jewish people, equally the property of every individual Jew. And so it has been from the very first moment of Jewish ownership of the Holy Land: the first plot of land obtained by the first Jew included a share for every Jewish soul.” We see that the right to
the Land of Israel is based on the holy writ, a scripture regarded as sacred by two of the three major monotheistic faiths.