A Community or a Congregation? For What are We Striving? Part 2 & Part 3
by Tim Hegg
“Critical Issues for Torah Communities” taught at Torah Resource Institute
As people who have come to love the Torah as Gods gracious instructions in righteousness, this assertion makes perfect sense. For as one studies the Torah, it becomes evident that certain of the mitzvot cannot be obeyed apart from community involvement. The very fact that the Shabbat, as well as the Moedim (Appointed Times) require a sacred assembly ( מִקְרַא קֹדֶּשׁ , mikra kodesh, cf. Lev 23:45) points conclusively to this fact. Or consider the mitzvah of wearing tzitzit. This command involves not only wearing tzitzit but also looking upon them: It shall be tzitzit for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them (Numbers 15:39). The you in this sentence is plural in the Hebrew as are the following verbs to look, to remember, and to do. In other words, a person cannot fulÞll the commandment of tzitzit by himself or herselflooking at them means looking at others who are wearing the tzitzit and this requires a community. In fact, when the Torah is studied as a whole, it becomes entirely evident that living in accordance with the Torah can only be accomplished within a community that is committed to obey the Torahs commandments. From a Torah perspective, community is an absolute essential, not an add-on.