Everything in the Torah is played out on different levels. For instance, the first level is the simple level. How do you know a fish is kosher? Well the Torah says it must have fins and scales. Simple.
However the Talmud (oral insight into the Torah given to Moses on MT. Sinai) tells us that if you find a fish that with no scales and fins its not kosher. Of course that’s what it says in the Bible. But the Talmud says if you find a fish with scales but no fins then its kosher. It goes on to say that is because there is no fish in the world that has scales but doesn’t have fins. How can that be? How can the Talmud know this fact? (Which is scientifically true) The Talmud was put into written form 1500 years ago and given to Moses 3324 years ago. Most of the world hadn’t been discovered. Certainly most marine life was unknown and Moses was not a deep see diver. But this insight proved that the Torah was giving us inside information. OUR INSIDE INFORMATION.
Lets look deeper. Why does a fish have fins? To propel itself to go forward. ….We have ambition ,drive, motivation to make something out of ourselves. We use our fins to grow to get us to where we want to be in life.
Why does a fish have scales? Scales are its protective device. It enables it to smoothly swim in water and keeps its inner life safe from its environment……. We as humans have values, ideals, beliefs. They protect us. They keep us safe. This is what the Torah and Talmud teaches us : we can have fins without scales ;but if you have scales you definitely have fins.
Meaning : we all spend time trying to make a living, trying to get more in life, but if you don’t develop our scales we don’t become finer people. Then we become dangerous people. All ambition without fineness of character is very dangerous indeed. Scales definitely have fins means GOOD CHARACTER WILL PROPEL YOU FORWARD IN A POSITIVE WAY!
How much time do you spend every day being ambitious working hard taking care of business. Now ask : how much of the day do you spend developing your values? What does all this say about the culture we live in? What does all this say about YOU?
Meditate on this : who are we as a culture? Who are you as an individual?
Even a Torah scholar can spend years learning about God, teaching about God, knowing all the Torah and becoming a Great Rabbi. But if he does all that work without refining his character without dedicating it to GOD, then it was all about himself. He only had fins. But if he refines his character by becoming a GOD FEARING individual who can stand before God and another human being with HUMILITY,dedicating his ambition to God then he has developed fineness of character. His quality of studying is greater than the student or rabbi who is not God fearing or humble.
Ask yourself :HOW DEVELOPED ARE MY SCALES?
HOW DEVELOPED ARE MY FINS?
ARE MY FINS OUTCOMES OF MY SCALES? AMBITION OUTCOMES OF WHO YOU ARE?
OR ARE YOU SACRIFICING WHO YOU ARE TO BE ENSLAVED BY YOUR AMBITION?
(To find out more about philosophy of good living see chabad.org. develop your scales no matter what religion you are into)