the prohibition of descecrating Temple objects states
And you shall bear no sin because of it, when you have set aside the best of it;
you shall not descecrate the holy things of the people of Israel, and you shall not die.
Rashi comments: This should be interpreted causatively: If you descecrate the
holy things then you deserve to, and will, die.
To properly understand this we review certain rules of logic. The export-import
law allows the conjunction and to exchange for an implication. For example, If it rains today
and I don't have an umbrella, then I will get wet has the same logical meaning as
If it rains today then if
I don't have an umbrella, then I will get wet
In the Bible a statement of the form do not descecrate and you will not
die has the same logical meaning as do not descecrate; if you
descecrate then you will die.
In general any Biblical statement of the form don't do X and have consequence Y
is similarly interpreted as Don't do X; If you do X the consequence is you will Y.
Since this interpretation primarily involves the formal manipulation of logical
connectives we classify it as a non verse rule similar to the spreadsheet
and diagram methods.
There are many examples of this rule in the Torah and we will have opportunity
to visit it during this yearly cycle.
The commandment of tzitzith is discussed in both Nu15-38-41
The Bible clearly states that the reason for wearing Tziztzith is
that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord...
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt
We are however told that this requirement of remembering God's commandments
only applies to four corner garments which you wear.
Rashi explains the symbolism of four corner garments.
The Bible explicitly connects Tzitzith with our obligation to
observe commandments because of the Exodus. But the Exodus is identified
has having four stages - Ex06-06:07. The message is that we have
a specific requirement of remembering God's commandments in each of these
4 stages of life:
- Leaving: When leaving Egypt we were in a rush but even so we
must remember God's commandments
- No servitude: The commandments are not something we only observe
as slaves (To protect us from slave impulses). As we acquired wealth in Egypt
and were freed from slavery we acquire other emotions which also require
observing God's commandments.
- Redemption: On the sea when we were saved from the pursuing Egyptians
we were in a state of great emotional flux - nevertheless we must strengthen
ourselves and observe commandments then.
- New Nation: Commandments were not just something we observe to be
saved from Egypt. After Egypt we received the Torah - we must observe commandments
while we are free. Commandments protect us against our internal vices whether
we are slaves or free.