Pardes

June 20, 2006

an acronym, emphasizing the letters capitalized and bolded, referring to the four fundamental branches of Torah study; namely, “PSHAT,” Simple Meaning, “REMEZ,” Hinted-At Meaning, “DRASH,” Derived Meaning and “SOD,” Secret, or Hidden Meaning. In Hebrew, the word “pardes” means orchard, and the meanings are not unrelated. For when one tastes the fruit of the orchard, benefit is derived on many levels: the simple taste, the hinted-at, more subtle taste, derived benefit, such as when one makes grapes into wine, and the secret, unexpressed benefit, which lingers in the imagination. There was more than a “taste” of danger when one entered the “Pardes” of the Torah, as we see in the Talmud’s account of the four great Torah scholars who “entered the Pardes,” of whom only Rabbi Akiva emerged whole.