All religions of the world have two common elements: faith and practice.
Judaism however consists of a third unique element, essential to its belief-system: the study of Torah.
The study of Torah is not just a mitzvah or a biblical obligation.
It is a way of being Jewish.
It is an act of worship that is just as vital to a Jew as the belief in God and the practice of Judaism.
Without the study of Torah, a Jew is lacking a fundamental component of his being.
Perhaps, the study of Torah is best defined as a meeting of minds.
When a Jew studies Torah, his mind meets and communicates with the mind of God.
This compares well to a mother and her child looking at a family album together.
The mother is God, the child is the Jew.
Their perspectives of the album are certainly different, but a deep bond is nonetheless created.
The study of the album provides them with a unique sense of togetherness and love that is unmatchable to other spiritual experiences.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From a lecture by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, January 25, 2009
(with gratitude to Rabbi Pinchas Allouche)