90. The Crown of Torah

Talmud Torah 3:1

The Jewish people were given three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of royalty. Aaron earned the crown of the priesthood, as per Numbers 25:13, “It will be an eternal covenant of priesthood for him and his descendants after him.” David earned the crown of royalty, as per Psalms 89:37, “His descendants will endure forever and his throne will be like the sun before Me.” The crown of Torah was placed aside, ready for every Jew, as per Deuteronomy 33:4, “Moses commanded us the Torah, an inheritance for the congregation of Jacob.” Whoever desires this crown may come and take it.

Don’t think that the other crowns are greater than the crown of Torah. Proverbs 8:15-16 says, “By Me, kings reign and princes decree justice. By Me, nobles rule….” We infer from this that the crown of Torah is greater than the other two.

Talmud Torah 3:2

The Sages taught that a Torah scholar who is a mamzer (the product of an adulterous or incestuous relationship) takes precedence over a Kohein Gadol (High Priest) who is an unlearned person. This is inferred from Proverbs 3:15, “It is more precious than pearls,” which is taken to refer to the Kohein Gadol, who enters the innermost chamber of the Temple. (This inference relies upon the relationship between the words “pearls” and “innermost” in Hebrew.)

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