Dvar Torah Vayikra: The Fundamental Rift

There often lies within each parsha the potential for a disagreement between the Akivan and Ishmaelian perspectives, and although it may appear as a tangled mess of discrete points of dissension, in truth, there is a virtual fault line the separates the Akivan/Ishmalian divide into neatly defined positions that essentially constitute competing worldviews.Much of the disagreement develops forms the fundamental rift between the two perspectives that basically derives from just a few, pivotal elements of contrast.  One such element, as we’ve been discussing for the past few weeks, is in regards to the nature of God and his relationship to the finite world He created.

Another basic element relates to the nature of the Torah and its relationship to the finite world.  Because we took the opportunity of Yisro-Mishpatim to discuss the former issue, we sort of missed fleshing out the latter, but because all of the seemingly unrelated arguments of R’ Akiva and R’ Ishmael tend to hinge upon one (or both) of these fundamental issues, it’s easy enough to tackle the one we’ve missed in an indirect fashion, and this week happens to provide us with a good launchpad.

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