Mishpatim: No Time for Questions
King Solomon teaches that the war against the evil inclination is more challenging than any confrontation in the battlefield...
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
"We shall do and we shall hear." (Exodus 24:7)
The nations of the world have difficulty understanding Hashem's love for His People Israel. All the nations were given a chance to receive the Torah, but they refused. One nation asked, “What does the Torah say?”
Hashem answered, “Don't murder.”
They turned their back on Hashem and while walking away said, “No, thanks.”
Visiting another nation, Hashem offered them the Torah. They too asked what's written inside . Hashem answered, “Don't steal.”
The second nation shot a skewed look up at the sky and answered, “How do You expect us to make a living?” They too were down the road...
Just so the nations wouldn't have any excuse to complain about His future selection of the Jews as His chosen people, Hashem frequented every nation, offering them the Torah. One refused to outlaw adultery. Another was adamant about worshiping gold and silver. Still another nation dismissed the Torah's laws against same-gender relationships as antiquated and in opposition to their liberal ideology. No one wanted the Torah.
Hashem finally went to the Jewish People. They didn't ask what was in the Torah. They didn't demand to hear the details. All they needed to know was that it came straight from Hashem, the G-d of their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All they said was, “We shall do and we shall hear.” Then and there, Hashem fell in love with them and made them His chosen people.
As soon as the Jews first implemented Hashem's commandments and only afterwards asked for details and clarifications, they attained the ability to overcome the evil inclination, something that no other nation can do. In fact, as Rebbe Nachman of Breslev emphasizes, just as there are seventy nations, there are seventy types of evil. Each nation has its evil characteristic. Only the Jews with their G-d given Torah have the ability to totally purify themselves of evil.
The nations still complain: “So what if the Jews said, 'We shall do and we shall hear'. What's all the commotion? What's the big deal?”
It's a very big deal. King Solomon says that a person who is able to govern himself is greater than one who captures an entire city. We hereby learn that the war against the evil inclination is more challenging than any confrontation on the battlefield...
Imagine that in the heat of battle, the commander-in-chief issued an order to one of his battalion commanders to attack the enemy's left flank immediately. The battalion commander answered, “But sir, the right flank needs reinforcement. Your command doesn't seem logical. Would you mind explaining your rationale?”
“Just obey the order immediately!” the commander-in-chief barks. Every moment of delay is critical. The commander-in-chief, with access to all the latest real-time intelligence and satellite reports that the battalion commander hasn't seen, has spotted a weakness in the enemy's left flank, an opportunity that he must seize immediately to win the war. In a war, one does what he's told and asks questions later. Needless to say, the commander-in-chief is irate about the battalion commander's wiseacre attitude; that doesn't win wars.
In the heat of battle, there's no time to ask questions. Every soldier must do as told, immediately. After fulfilling a command, he can appeal or ask why. If such is the case in a physical war, it's certainly the case in the spiritual war that each of us is engaged in with the evil inclination. At any rate, when the war's over and Moshiach will come, we'll all understand how every letter of Torah is the absolute truth.
 - Likutei Moharan I:36
 - Proverbs 16:32
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.