This week’s parsha holds the famous verse, “Torah tziva lanu Moshe, morasha kehilas Yaakov”.
R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky wonders: Why aren’t we referred to as Yisroel in this passuk? Yisroel is a higher, more spiritual level, one that Yaakov reached only after intense work. Wouldn’t it be more fitting to use our elevated name, especially in context with the Torah?
Rav Kamenetsky answers that if the passuk would have read “Yisroel,” the assumption would be that the Torah is only for people on that higher, more spiritual level, and not for the plain ol’ Yaakovs.
Much in the same way that only the priests of Christianity know the laws and can truly connect to G-d, we would assume that this is not for the plebeians.
But there couldn’t be something further from the truth.
The Torah is for every man, woman, and child, for every age, for every gender, for every other breakdown you can think of.
Furthermore, every person has a Yaakov and Yisroel within them. There’s the spiritual part of us, and then our physical needs and desires.
Other religions tell you how to live only when you’re being spiritual- how to pray, how to fast, and how to be holy.
Judaism tells you how bring the spiritual into every aspect of your life, even the physical. Judaism tells you how to eat properly, how to interact with your fellow men, and even how to sleep in a manner befitting a member of Klal Yisroel.
If the passuk would have read “Yisroel,” we would assume that the Torah is only for when we are engaged in our spiritual actions of the day. But instead, as Jews, we bring the spiritual into the mundane and elevate our physical lives.