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The NISHMA INSIGHT is our popular dvar Torah, distributed almost every week by e-mail, that touches upon an important concept in the Parsha, theme in a holiday or event in contemporary society.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Insight 5778-15: THE SERVANT OF GOD

For Shemot
Not yet available on the Nishma website

This understanding of the relationship between God and humanity is also significant in the discussion of the relationship between a rebbi [teacher] and talmid [student] or other designation of follower. There are those who wish to maintain that a student must always follow the position of a teacher; the latter's will must always be subservient to the will of the teacher. There are others, though, who maintain that the actual sign of a good rebbi is one who can raise a talmid to have a proper will of his/her own and thus is able to make decisions independent and even in conflict with the teacher. Independence of will is obviously the issue. While the independence of a prophet's will that the Insight argues must be an element of prophecy does not, of course, in any way imply a conflict with the Divine, in human terms such an expression of independence could result in a conflict between rebbi and talmid and so the existence of this particular issue in regard to the relationship of teacher and student. In regard to prophecy and, in fact, all aspects of the Divine-human connection, the existence of the Divine Will and the independent human will can, though, paradoxically co-exist. This is the very essence of Torah. This argument in regard to the rebbi-talmid relationship is simply a reflection that such co-existence must also paradoxically co-exist in this case. It is just more difficult in the human case.

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