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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:19

An Opened and a Closed Statement

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Gemara: An open mem (the regular letter) and the closed mem (the mem at the end of a word) correspond to an open statement and a closed statement.

Ein Ayah: The greatness of Torah is that it includes everything – all concepts – with the sanctity of its unity. All areas of knowledge and wisdom can be divided into the revealed, clear matters and matters that are closed and elusive. However, the clear unity that is captured within every single statement of Torah includes both open and secret characteristics. It has concepts that are comprehensible to all and also deep matters that are the secrets of the world. This is part of the Torah’s uniqueness and is hinted at by the two types of mems, as both forms are representations of the same letter. Indeed all elements of the Torah are united, despite their different natures.

[The introduction to Ein Ayah, which we presented 11 years ago, begins with this gemara and expounds on the concept of the open and closed statements. We bring below relevant excerpts from that introduction.]

Closed statements teach practical Torah regarding mitzvot and statutes. Only when these are observed literally can we open the gates of enlightening, expanded ideas of the open statement… Once those who "damage the vineyards" break open the "fences of the world," their spirit will no longer reach the level to appreciate the holy value of the statements of the Torah and the Rabbis, including the open statement, which is wider and deeper than the sea. This is because only one who is sanctified in the holiness of good actions, behavior, and beliefs can elevate his spirit to properly view the value of the words of a Living G-d… The foundations of Jewish belief are included in the closed statement, which comes at the end of a word. The open statement is effective in expanding and glorifying the Torah when it comes in the middle of the word. When ideas are expanded and the view of all of the details of ethics and belief increase, we will be able to strengthen weak hands and fragile hearts and return those who strayed from Torah back to its strength through grace and healthy logic.
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