The Summary of the Torah

A summary is a shortened, condensed version of something. A summary of Lord of the Rings would be, "Good and evil collide in a quest to destroy the ring of power." Obviously, there is more to the story, as roughly half a million words in the books and twelve hours of film attest to. But still not a bad description for a mere thirteen words.

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Recently Galatians 5:14 was given to me as a reason for not keeping Torah. It says:

The whole of the Torah is summed up in one sentence: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

The person elaborated that if he simply 'loved his neighbor' he would be keeping the general idea of the Torah without being bothered with the technicalities of specific instructions.

If Peter Jackson had chosen to base the Lord of the Rings movies solely on the summary of the books, "Good and evil collide in a quest to destroy the ring of power," his films would undoubtedly have very little in common with the original story penned by JRR Tolkien. Aragorn and Gandalf and the Shire would have been left out. The battles fought would have been different. The ring would have been destroyed by ten female dwarves. Sure, he might have made a good vs. evil movie, but it wouldn't be Lord of the Rings. Thankfully, Jackson and his team opted to base the films on the whole of the books and not just a simple summary. Otherwise it would have been impossible to accurately portray the story as told in the book.

The Torah is filled with specific instructions. This takes out the guess work for us. How do we actually love our neighbors? The Torah commands us not sleep with their husband/wife, to return lost property to the owner, to pay our workers on time, and to treat litigants equally in court, among other things. We don't have to stop there, but can we love our neighbors if we aren't following these instructions?

If we love our neighbors we will treat them the way the Torah instructs.

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