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Unread 12-03-2003, 01:11 PM   #1
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Torah: Bread, Water, Wine, Oil, Honey, Milk

The Torah is compared to water, to bread, to wine, and to oil:

Because it satisfies spiritual hunger it is like water and bread.

Because it contains intoxicating concealed mysteries, it is compared to wine (also, the numerical value of wine "yayin" equals secret "sod").

Oil is a metaphor for the "Mystery of mysteries".

from Medrash Shir Ha'Shirim

The Torah has been compared to wine, water, oil, and honey and milk. Just as we find water all over the earth's surface, so do we find the Torah;

water will never cease from this globe, neither will God's laws cease.

Water comes from the heavens, and the Torah came from heaven.

There is a noise when water descends, and the Torah descended amidst thunders.

Water quickens the thirsty soul; so does the Torah quicken him who is thirsty for knowledge.

Water cleanses impurities, and God's laws do the same.

Water coming down by drops can form a river; so if a man acquires Torah bit by bit he may eventually become a great scholar.

Water, unless one is thirsty, cannot be drunk with any degree of pleasure; in the same way, unless one has a craving for the Torah, its study, if enforced, will become a burden.

Water runs from high places and seeks the lower portions of the earth; so the Torah will not remain with the haughty man, but rather seeks out the lowly.

Water is not kept in golden or silver vessels, but is best kept in earthenware; so the Torah will not be retained except by him who is meek of spirit.

A man of distinction will not think it beneath his dignity to ask for water from the meanest individual, neither is any one too great to despise instruction from the most insignificant person.

One may drown in water if one cannot swim; so, unless one possesses a thorough knowledge of the Torah and all its meanings, one may be drowned in it.

But it may be said that water gets stale if kept for a time in a vessel, and that the same should apply to the Torah. Remember therefore that it is also likened to wine, which improves with age.

Again, water leaves no trace on him who tastes it, and the same, it might be said, must be the case with the Torah. But here again we must remember the comparison of the Torah to wine. just as wine has a visible effect on one who drinks it, so the studious man is at once known when one looks at him.

Water does not rejoice the heart, and it might be concluded that the same is true of the Torah; hence it is likened to wine, since each rejoices the heart.

Yet wine is sometimes injurious; not so the Torah, which is compared with oil. As oil is capable of anointing any part of the human body, so is the Torah an anointment to its possessor.

But oil again has a bitter taste before it is purified; is this, then, equally true of the Torah? No; for the Torah is compared to milk and honey, each of which has an agreeable taste, while when blended they have healing properties as well as sweetness.
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Unread 12-23-2003, 12:38 PM   #2
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Chapter 7 of “On the Essence of Chassidus” (“Inyana shel Toras Ha’Chassidus”) says that Oil is a metaphor for Chassidus, razei razin, and discusses it at length. The Rebbe Rashab in Toras Sholom p. 26 says, ‘Just as the olive, when it is squeezed and pounded, it gives forth its oil … similarly, it was only through the accusations of Petersburg that the essence was revealed … “, referring to the exoneration of the Alter Rebbe on 19 Kislev.

Before his arrest, his teachings were brief and difficult to absorb. After his release, his teachings were expansive, rich in elaboration, no less deep but more accessible.

Oil, being the essence of everything has two characteristics: it is separate from everything but it also pervades everything. Chassidus does not mix with other things because it’s the essence of everything, and it also permeates everything.
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Unread 12-24-2003, 01:48 AM   #3
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Hey Jude, How is it that a frog which spends its whole life in clean waters finds its way on a plate at a Royals table, and a chicken, who rolls around in its filth is kosher for us and is on our Shabbos table?
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Unread 12-24-2003, 06:08 AM   #4
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...all of these substances [water, bread, wine, oil] are used as metaphors for the Torah. There are, however, differences between them. Water and bread are the staples of our everyday existence. In contrast, wine is not a daily necessity, it is used to contribute an element of pleasure to our existence as it is written, "Wine makes glad man and G-d." Oil is not required for our day to day existence. It is never served as a food in its own right.[54] Rather, it is used in minute qualities to add flavor to other foods. Thus it is associated with the quality of pleasure.

Bread and water are metaphors for Nigleh, the revealed dimensions of Torah law, the concepts of Torah which are necessary for our people to know to observe the mitzvos properly. Like bread and water, this knowledge is necessary for our people's existence. In contrast, wine and oil are metaphors for P'nimiyus HaTorah. For like these two substances, the study of P'nimiyus HaTorah adds pleasure and vitality to our observance of the Torah and its mitzvos.

In particular, there is a difference between oil and wine. For wine is drunken as a beverage in its own right, while oil is not. Also, there are times, Shabbos and festivals, when wine is required for Kiddush. Similarly, in regard to the symbolic meaning of the two. Wine refers to those dimensions of the Torah's secrets that are close to revelation and can be perceived by a sensitive eye. In contrast, oil refers to the deepest secrets of the Torah, those that transcend revelation.

Sicha Shabbos Parshas Mikeitz, Shabbos Chanukah
1st Day Of Rosh Chodesh Teves, 5752
Chassidim must study Chassidus--HaYom Yom 21Kislev
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Unread 12-29-2003, 08:31 AM   #5
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Imrei Bina, Shaar Ha’Kerias Shema

Wine is razin and oil is razei razin. Wine, through being withheld and concealed by the grapes, gains strength and power when it is finally pressed. Oil, on the other hand, through being contained and withheld in the olive, does not gain any additional power at all.

Thus wine is in the category of concealment – and has the numerical value of the word sod (secret). Oil transcends “concealment” and “revelation” (which is why its concealment does not give it any additional strength).

Chassidus, which is compared to oil, is also above “concealment” and “revelation” which is why it has the power to bring out revelation from concealment. To explain: peshat, remez and drush are revealed, and sod is concealed. But on the level of essence of Torah which is Chassidus, which is the level of yechida, there is no division between the hidden part of Torah and the rest, and even the hidden part of Torah can be revealed.
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Unread 12-29-2003, 11:23 AM   #6
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In a Chanukah ma'amor (forget which year), the Rebbe discusses the inyan of razin d'razin of oil, pointing to the following:

a) Wine (juice) is released from the grape with relatively little effort. To get oil from the olive requires additional effort.

b) Wine (juice) can be enjoyed as soon as it comes out, meriting a brocha. Oil is not considered usable as-is (and thus one doesn't make a brocha on it).

c) The purpose of oil is that is is burned and produces light. The light is hidden within the oil, which is hidden within the olive. Thus, razin d'razin (concealed within the concealed).
Chassidim must study Chassidus--HaYom Yom 21Kislev
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Unread 12-29-2003, 12:23 PM   #7
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Melukat 2 p 211
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