In this week’s Parsha we are warned against utilizing the services of soothsayers and future tellers of any type . The Pasuk then goes on to command us to be “Tamim” perfect with HaShem. What is the Tamim that we are expected to act in accordance with? The same word is used in a similar context when HaShem commands Avrohom to perform Bris Milah. HaShem says : I am El Shadai walk before and be Tamim. That Pasuk is the introduction to the Mitzvah of Milah, but once again what is this Tamim that we are expected to act in accordance with?
Rashi explains, by Bris Milah, that we should be perfect in all of our tests, and never fail in our trust in HaShem. He then brings a Midrashic explanation that it is referring to the perfection of the Jewish body that will come through Milah. The Ibn Ezra explains that it is referring to the Milah, but specifically the aspect of that we are not supposed to ask why HaShem is commanding it.
The Ramban explains that is connected to the Pasuk in Shoftim, and here too it means to not believe there are any other powers in the world, and to go and walk with HaShem in purity and completion, completely trusting in Him.
The Ramban’s explanation is based on a Midrash that connects these two Pesukim of Tamim, and says that both of the Pesukim emphasize “with HaShem”. And just as HaShem is Tamim so too you should be Tamim and then you will be with him. And not only is Hashem Tamim but also the Torah is Tamim, as we say the Torah of Hashem is Temimah-perfect.
We find this also by Yakov who is called a man of Tam dwelling in tents . The Maharal expands this idea and brings another Chazal that Yakov is called Tam and the Shevatim are also called Tam. Therefore we see that the trait of Tam brings to having children who continue in your path. That is what the Pasuk in Mishlei teaches: A Tzadik goes in his Temimus, his children are established and well founded after him.
So we find that the beginning of the Jewish people by Avrohom is based on Temimus; Yakov founds his family the Shevatim on Temimus; and Moshe commands us as we enter Eretz Yisroel to act with Temimus. So it is obviously a foundational idea. But the idea still needs clarification, as to what is this Tamim that we are to strive for.
The Ramban actually brings this as a Mitzvas Aseh, one of the two hundred and forty eight positive Mitzvoth. Since the Rambam does not bring it in his list, the Ramban disagrees and adds it in. He writes at length that it is the Mitzvah of Emunah that there is no power other than HaShem and we should therefore not believe in any force, as he wrote in his Peirush on the Torah that we brought above. This is why it is a cornerstone of all of the Torah.
The Bais HaLevi in Bereishis gives a different but very relevant explanation . Tamim is to follow the will of HaShem without examining why we are commanded in such a way. That kind of Temimus would seem to work in performance of Mitzvoth, but is that a way to learn Torah, and delve into HaShem? Don’t those require questioning? Explains the Bais HaLevi there is a fine balance between learning in order to understand and examining to see if it is true. The Temimus is to approach the Torah in the manner of accepting its truth, and then examining to see that truth more deeply. As we say in Davening: First Ain Kelokeinu- we affirm that there is no one like HaShem, only after that Mi Kelokeinu- can we ask who is like HaShem.
Rav Tzadok expands this idea and writes that when you learn Torah in order to come to recognize HaShem then you are Tamim and with Him. He explains that at first a person learns Halacha to follow the will of HaShem. Then there arises a desire from within following the Halacha to understand the Will of HaShem. Then a person learns Agadata, that draws a person closer to recognzing HaShem. That leads to a Torah of Temimus. The implication is that if the process starts from the opposite direction, it is lacking in Temimus. And that Temimus is the goal of our learning.
This type of Temimus is found in all three places. Avrohom is commanded to be Tamim, as he is told a Mitzvah which seems so unusual and almost barbaric. Yakov is called Tam as he sits and learns Torah. His Torah is based on Temimus as the Bais HaLevi explains. And finally as we leave the miraculous existence of the Desert where HaShem is readily apparent at every moment, Moshe commands us to remain Tamim, connected to HaShem in all of our actions.
What arises from this is the Mitzvah of Tamim is a bedrock of our Avodas HaShem. Our approach to Torah and Avoda is based on acknowledging the supremacy of Torah coming from HaShem and being perfect. Only then can we begin to delve into it and try to understand it, but always with Temimus.