In the 13th century, around 1257 or 1258, an important Jewish book was published – the Book of Education-ספר החינוך. It was written by Rabbi Aaron the Levite – רבי אהרון הלוי. Very few people in Israel and throughout the world know this book, but as you are about to read, this book should be found in every library.
The reason is because this book answers a very essential question for any believer- namely, Why?
In Judaism there are 613 commandments to be observed; all of which were given to us by God. The Book of Education explains us why we need to fulfill these commandments or, in simpler terms, what’s the point- מה הטעם.
Let’s see an example from this book that will clarify this issue.
The 237th commandment is written in Leviticus 19:16-
“לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָ: אֲנִי יְהוָה””
“And you are not to stand idly by the blood of your neighbor; I am the Lord.”
The Book of Education offers three explanations of this commandment:
Firstly, by being responsible for others, we become a civilized society, looking out for one another and caring for those around us. Secondly, if you save him, he will save you!
Thirdly, this is how God commands us to behave.
In our next article we shall discuss more important examples from this wonderful book!