Honorable Mensch-ion

The Books Are Free!

Our family visited our local public library this week and our children received their first library cards. When we arrived at the librarian’s desk for checkout with a pile of books ranging from science experiments to Shel Silverstein poetry, they asked, “How much do the books cost?” They were in shock when the librarian responded, “The books are free…You just need to read them.” 
Is this not true of our sacred book, the Torah? We are told that those who are chacham lev, wise hearted, should come and take part in building the sanctuary. The Baal Binah explains the difference between King David and King Saul. Each is described as a maskil, enlightened. They were scholarly and had a deep understanding of God’s will. What was the difference? David searched for answer’s to life’s problems and never closed his eyes to the paradoxes of life. King Saul always needed an answer that was within his comprehension.  
We live in a fast paced world where miracles flash before our eyes. This is a world in which Israel launches its first spacecraft, where headlines fly before truths are discovered, and where human hands of medicine become acts of God. The result is a diminishing of religion-Shabbat, kashrut, and basic derecho eretz, good manners. And yet, we also observe a rise in spiritual seekers, looking for substance, depth, and meaning in an often lonely world. 
Yes, the Torah tells us that it is the wise hearted who will build these sacred communities. And yes, the librarian was right—the books are free…..We just need to open the covers. 

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