opened book, lying on the bookshelf

Doing commandments
It’s only part of our task
We must study, too.

Before reciting the Ten Commandments in this week’s portion, Moses tells the people, “Hear, O Israel, the laws and rules that I proclaim to you this day. Study them and observe them faithfully!“‘ (Deuteronomy 5:1)

Should we do and then learn, or should we study before observing a commandment? Jews have debated this question for centuries, but Moses does not take sides. Although the word “study” precedes the word “observe”, the verse doesn’t say study then observe. We are commanded to do both.

When we call ourselves “people of the book” we aren’t just referring to “The Book” (Torah), but to a love of books – and study – generally. My congregation is celebrating our devotion to learning tonight with a special blessing during Shabbat worship for teachers and students (of all ages) as the new school year begins.

Joining a Torah study class or taking advantage of educational opportunities for adults at your synagogue are good ways to learn. But thanks to many on-line resources it is possible to work on the “study them” part of what Moses commands even when your schedule makes it difficult to attend classes in your community.

A great place to start is with the Reform Movement’s daily Ten Minutes of Torah (click here to sign up). Of course, if you enjoy The Torah In Haiku, you can sign up for email alerts whenever something new is posted.

Do you have a favorite place on-line to learn about Torah, or Judaism, or even other faiths? Take a minute to share it in the comments so others can learn, too.


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