Cloaking Improves Vision

Readers of Moby Dick have long skimmed the whaling sections. Love-story followers generally hurry through the “war” part of War and Peace, while others skip through the boring relationship stuff to focus on land distribution. Likewise, many Bible readers’ eyes glaze over at the close of Exodus: Some 200+ Torah verses describe plans for the Tabernacle and its furnishings. Another 200+ verses describe the actual work. Four entire weekly Torah readings are dedicated to the details of the Tabernacle, with Ki Tisa’s story of the Golden Calf in between.

Some teachers focus on general messages extracted from these passages: the importance of working collaboratively, supporting community infrastructure, or honoring the arts, for example. But others take an allegorical view, mining details rather than glossing over them. Kedushat Levi (Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, 1740 – 1809) is one of the later. And some of those details surround the number 30.
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Breishit: Great Source(s)

The letter [bet] at the beginning of the word [breishit], is an allusion to 2 phenomena, G’d’s largesse on the one hand, His providing us with unlimited potential, whereas man by defining words in the Torah narrows down, limits the potential, in a sense limiting G’d’s input in the physical universe….The oral Torah, i.e., man’s interpretation of the letters of the Torah, imposes limitations on G’d’s largesse. When man defines letters in the written Torah, however broad such a definition may be, it excludes whatever is beyond man’s definition.
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Nitzavim: Great Source(s)

…Rabbi Mordechai Joseph Leiner of Izbica interpreted the verse “Then the Lord your God will open up your heart and the hearts of your offspring to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, in order that you may live (Deuteronomy 30:6) to indicate that God doesn’t want us to neutralize our passion, but to channel it into the service of committed, ethical, godly living. Only thus, claimed the nineteenth-century Hasidic master, can we model engaged, sanctified life that can enliven both us and our descendants.
— from “A Few Choice Gifts,” by Howard Avruhm Addison. p.294, Continue Reading