About Ish Tam

“Ish Tam” – simple, innocent, wholesome man – that’s how Torah calls our forefather Yaakov.

“Tam” is also used in Haggadah to describe the third son, where it sometimes interpreted as “simpleton”.

However Haggadah gives us a key into the real meaning in that context as well:

The third son’s question is “Mah Zot?” – What is that?

Normally in Hebrew we ask “Mah Ze?” – for generic and male subjects.

“Mah Zot?” however signifies female subject – and beautiful explanation tells us that Tam sees Shehinah – Hashem’s presence (which is linguistically and kabbalistically female),

However he doesn’t exactly understand what he sees…

So our task here is to understand what is that we see… with our eyes and our soul – and use it to reach our goal of coming to this world – to get closer to our Source and help our dear brothers and sisters.

Simplicity and need to be down-to-earth practical  is also emphasized by   “Lo bashamaim Hee” (Devarim 30:12) – Torah “is not found in heaven”

– in the last book of Torah (Deuteronomy),  Moshe Rabbeinu tries to explain the new generation of Jewish people who are about to enter the Land of Israel, that all the laws and mitzvoth they received are very close to their everyday life and needs:

“For that (the Torah) is your life and the length of your days” (Devarim 30:20) – this is not some abstract set of rules for mythical reward and punishment – it’s very down-to-earth manual on “How to avoid shooting-yourself-in-a-leg” and live happy prosperous life if nothing more.

Practical Torah Spirituality is very simple (Tam in Hebrew) – simple in the sense of being harmonious, holistic truth, which can be practiced by any Jew (the principles are applicable to all people, but not all the mitzvot)

This practice doesn’t require esoteric knowledge of Kabbalah (which with all my respect became too theoretical and detached from practical application),

It only needs a simple picture of “How things work” which is developed step-by-step through practice.

In a sense it requires a change of thinking (most people have dominant left brain and under-used right brain) to start perceiving things in all their totality (in parallel – right brain thinking) instead of million of separate details (serial – left brain thinking).

I’ll try to keep the style of articles on this site short and practical – in spirit of

“Simple Torah Spirituality” –

please let me know if I’m succeeding 🙂

You are welcome to comment on the site here or use the Contact form

  1 comment for “About Ish Tam

  1. chayim mendelsohn
    May 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    B’H
    by hashgacha pratis, i discovered this site today. i am a BT who has been learning on my own for a while. i have a painful past and struggle with overcoming my character defects and revealing my yiddishe neshma. it’s hard without proper guidance. i hope this site will help to navigate a little more purposefully. i hope the Eibester blesses you with success and we all soon meet in Yerushalayim with Moshiach Tzidkeinu

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