We ordinarily imagine Torah being presented to us as a community by God through Moses. “We will do and we will hear!” (Exodus 24:7)- it seems it takes the power of communal commitment to pull Torah out of heaven and into the world. What if the community is unable to gather?
The Talmud expressly tells us how we might access Torah even if it were never given. We could learn hygiene from the cat, integrity from the ant, fidelity from the dove, and to mollify from the rooster. (Eruvin 100b) One Talmudic sage, Shimon ben Chalafta, went so far as to conduct an elaborate empirical study in order to verify the biblical claim that anthills are able to labor in an efficient, organized fashion without the benefit of an authoritarian leader. (Chullin 57b, on Proverbs 6:6-8) We consider the Torah to be the blueprint of the world, so that by studying Torah we may better understand the world. But the reverse is equally true. By immersing ourselves in our world and examining it carefully, we may be rewarded with the discovery of Torah.
B’Yedidut ( in friendship)