Let My People Know

"The Torah is not a textbook"

The Torah is not a textbook. 


If a textbook is objectively good, I may study from it, but how I relate to it is irrelevant. 


I cannot argue with the mathematics it presents. 


I cannot argue with the rules of grammar it lays out. 


Certainly, I can learn from it, but it is not important to me, because it is utterly independent of me. 


It says what it says. 

With the Torah, on the other hand, I have to find my message. 


I have to figure out our relationship.


Therefore, I have to care. I cannot glide over the text.


I have to engage it.

  –Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From “Shavuot: Giving, and Receiving the Torah,” an essay by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz