Cedars of Lebanon: “God, the Torah, and Israel”
Rabbi Eleazar asked his father, Rabbi Simeon: “Behold, we have learned, ‘It is forbidden to teach the Torah to a heathen’; and the scholars of Babylonia have fittingly drawn our attention to the verse, ‘He hath not dealt so with any nation’ [Ps. 147:20]. But why, seeing that this Psalm says, ‘He declareth His word unto Jacob,’ does it also have to say, ‘His statutes and His ordinances unto Israel’?”
His father said to him: “Come and see, Eleazar. Israel are fortunate in that God hath implanted in them this supreme and holy portion; as it is written: ‘For I give you good doctrine’ [Proverbs 4:2]. That is to say, I give it to you, but not to the peoples that worship idols.”
And because this is the highest and most precious secret, the very Name of God, it follows that the whole Torah is both secret and revealed on account of the mystery of His Name. And, because of this, Israel exists on two levels, the secret and the revealed one. This is what we have learned: “Three levels are connected one with the other: the Holy One, blessed be He, the Torah, and Israel.” And each one of them exists on two levels, the secret and the revealed. And thus does Israel exist on two levels. This is the meaning of the verse, “He declareth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances unto Israel” [Ps. 147:19]. These are two different levels, “Jacob” and “Israel.” One is revealed, ‘the other is secret.
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