The Torah, according to Ralbag, is “a regimen that orders those who practice it properly to true success”. A “regimen” is a prescription of behavior, a method or set of skills instrumental to the self being able to effectively operate in the external world. A soldier has a training regimen in shooting running and fighting skills that enable success of the self in war. So too an athlete has a regimen of stretching and practice and the artist works on technique that enable success of the self in the sense of championships or art shows- but is the study of Chumash part of a regimen? This classification of Chumash is a little difficult to understand, our experience of its stories doesn't seem to about ourselves effectively operating in the external world. On the contrary, Chumash seems to be about understanding the external world, not in enabling the self to operate upon it! In what way is asking questions about Yaakov and Esav similar to the regimen of a soldier? In what way is the answering of difficulties about the jealousy of the brothers to Yosef similar to the regimen of an athlete or an artist?
To understand this point, we must have a deeper sense of what a regimen is. Our problem arises from an overly material sense of the interaction a craftsman has with the world. It focuses upon the motor action, the way the craftsman's body interacts with the tangible material world. In reality the craftsman does not directly operate upon the tangible material world. He operates upon the world via his minds educated understanding of the theoretical opportunities for success in the world. The essence of being a soldier is not knowing how to shoot, it is recognizing the theoretical opportunity for victory. So too the essence of being an athlete is not the ability to do motor action, it is to see the opportunity for a play, the opportunity for expressing an idea in a medium. Michelangelo was asked how he created the famous sculpture of David. He responded : I took the marble and hammered away at anything that didn't look like David. To be Michelangelo then is not so much to know how to hammer, though of course skill in hammering is critical. It is to see a theoretical world of marble which is potentially David if properly hammered.
It is in this sense of regimen as fundamentally a perspective of mind that the Torah is “a regimen that orders those who practice it properly to true success”. We study Yaakov, not so much to know what he did per se, but rather to gain access the world of opportunity as he saw it. We wish to avoid the limiting world that let to the jealousy of the brothers, we want to adopt the world of opportunity that followed Yaakovs teshuva and meeting with Yosef. It is this sense of Chumash that gives us illuminating insights into the world of human opportunities in which Mitzvot technique operate. Like Michelangelo the Torah master does not so much know mitzva technique, as see a world of of opportunities in which Mitzvot are the best instruments. This is what Ralbag refers to when he speaks of the three parts of Torah
It is of necessity that the Torah regimen should be divided into these elements, since human excellence can not be fully realized, except by attaining excellence of both man's constitution and research to the most excellent degree. Now the element that encompasses the study of political /social affairs that are beyond command and prohibition, is a next step that builds upon what has already been attained by mitzvot in the domain of developing man's psychological constitution. The study of the wisdom of the universe is a next step that builds upon what has already been attained by mitzvot in the domain of developing man's soul...
In the development of man we begin the relationship to the world of opportunities via beliefs and Mitzva techniques. As in any craft we begin through the education from our system or mentors. We see a world of opportunity via Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. We gain access to a craft of living via the techniques of Mitzvot. But this is the beginning of our development not its end. Once the craftsman sees the new world opportunity, he wants to delve deeper, to have an independence of understanding his world, free of authority of his masters. He wishes to see the political world, the complete possibility of opportunity not just the stories of the Chumash that exemplify this world. He wishes to become a craftsman of life not just one who follows the example of Masters.