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I once read a machshava--possibly from chasidus--to the effect that: "'The ox that gores the cow' is as much charged with G-dliness as 'I am H' your G-d.'"

I was quite moved by this. What is its source?

  • Maybe from the sfas emes on parshas yisro explaining that Matan Torah's emphasis was on Torah Shebaal peh? – TrustMeI'mARabbi Dec 14 '17 at 21:48
  • @TrustMeI'mARabbi I'm reading it and apparently this was his answer to how we see a sound. Super fascinating. – SAH Dec 14 '17 at 21:52
  • You are looking for specifically those two verses being compared? Or anything to that effect? – Y     e     z Dec 15 '17 at 3:56
  • @Y ez Ideally, the source in which exactly these two were juxtaposed – SAH Dec 15 '17 at 9:28
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Through a search engine, I was able to find that the first rabbi of Lubavitch (in Likutei Torah, Va'etchanan 6b) uses "the ox that gores the cow" as an example to the existence "inner" layers of Torah. In Gan Eden they learn the entire Oral Torah (he proves this from the gemara which says "אשרי מי שבא לכאן ותלמודו בידו"). But while we learn "the ox that gores the cow" as a practical law for a physical ox goring a physical cow, in Gan Eden they learn the law of "the ox that gores the cow" spiritually, in connection to the ox of the chariot in ma'ase merkava.

A similar idea is mentioned in his Likutei Amarim (chapter 5), that if one understands any part of the Torah, even a theoretical law that never actually happened in real life, means that the Torah, is "digested" in his soul, or that soul is "dressed" in the Torah, representing God's will. The concept of a "dress" is also mentioned tangentially in Likutei Torah (above). However, in this case he doesn't mention "the ox that gores a cow" as an example, but rather an unspecified monetary dispute (שכשיטעון ראובן כך וכך דרך משל ושמעון כך וכך יהיה הפסק ביניהם כך וכך).

Neither of these sources compares "the ox that gores the cow" to "I am H' your God," but I think that this is probably the source for the idea of the holiness of "the ox that gores the cow."

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Perhaps you are thinking of the following comment of Rambam (based on the Talmud in Sanhedrin 99a):

Commentary to the Mishnah, Introduction to Perek Chelek

ואין הבדל בין וּבְנֵי חָם כּוּשׁ וּמִצְרַיִם וּפוּט וּכְנָעַן וְשֵׁם אִשְׁתּוֹ מְהֵיטַבְאֵל בַּת מַטְרֵד וְתִמְנַע הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ ובין אָנֹכִי ה' ושְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה' אֶחָד הכל מפי הגבורה והכל תורת ה' תמימה טהורה וקדושה אמת

And there is no difference between [the verses] "and the sons of Cham were Kush and Mitzraim and Put and Canaan" "and the name of his wife was Mehetavel the daughter of Matrad" "and Timna was a concubine" and between [the verses] "I am the LORD" and "Hear O Israel the LORD is our God the LORD is one". All of them are from the mouth of the Almighty, and they are all the perfect, pure, holy, true Torah of the LORD.

Here Rambam states that all the verses in the Torah are of equal holiness, be they "unimportant" verses that merely give us genealogical information or the most "important" verses which declare God's existence and unity.

Thus, to answer your question, Rambam states that every verse "is as much charged with G-dliness as 'I am H' your G-d.'"

  • Great find and a wonderful answer. I am quite sure there is a passage in chasidus -- probably chasidus Chabad, although could be elsewhere -- that compares exactly the two verses I mentioned, undoubtedly pace (ברשות) the Rambam. – SAH Jun 27 '18 at 8:08

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