Let My People Know

"The purpose of education"


Not every person is able to in awe and terror, to the Torah. 

There are many degrees of sensitivity to the holy, and truly spiritual souls are those with a special aptitude for the sacred. 

This sensitivity is not necessarily a function of the intellect.

A very learned and clever person can well have a lesser soul, while a simple man can have a great soul. 

It may be likened to other talents, a musical ear, for instance, with the entire range of differences that this suggests. 

Thus, there are many excellent people who are somewhat immune to awe, who cannot feel the particular subtle fearfulness of God's presence. 

Regrettable as this may be, the study of Torah will still bring about a union with God's will–even if one does not experience it as such. 

Indeed, a person can experience such an influx of this Divine Wisdom that one is sure that the Shechinah is speaking in his throat; and yet he himself, poor fellow, may be unaware of anything extraordinary. 

Just as a person can perform a mitzvah without feeling any holiness in the action. 

For the experience of the numinous and the sacred event are two different realms of

To be sure, happy is he who feels as though he were standing at Mount Sinai every time he is engaged in Torah. 

The point is that irrespective of one's feelings about it, the contact with Divinity is established, and it exists in every such situation. 

One can be great in the eyes of the world and even full of real accomplishment and still not know what is meant by this. 

It does not diminish the value or the importance of the person's accomplishments. 

Such practical theology does not presume to analyze the experience of union with God. 

It simply proclaims the fact that there is no such thing as a small or a great act of devotion; each is equally capable of establishing the connection with holiness. 

Every Jew has the capacity within himself to decide, at least, whether he is for or against the contact. 

The difficulty lies in the tendency to diminish, by some intellectual reasoning, the transcendental meaning of Torah and mitzvot. 

But when a person does reach an awareness of this meaning, his approach will change. 

This actually is the purpose of education.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Long Shorter Way, Torah as God's Will, p.153