Let My People Know

"One can know Torah without performing the physical act of studying it"


The positive mitzvot can be seen to be like the 248 “organs" of the Divine.

Thus, when one performs a commandment, one is making it possible for something that was a part of the world to become a part of God. 

True, every organ, in man as in God, has its own level of vitality.

There is a basic difference between one's head and one's feet. 

As an aside, it may be mentioned that, according to Halachah, the heart is not considered to be an organ – just as the brain or the liver are not organs – an “organ" has flesh and sinews and bones of its own. 

From this point of view, it is argued that since prayer is like the heart, it is not really a mitzvah. 

Even if the heart is not an organ, it is what gives vitality to the body's organs. 

In the same way, there is a difference between Talmud Torah (study of Torah), and Yediat HaTorah (Knowledge of the Torah). 

Talmud Torah is the physical act of saying holy things with one's mouth. 

The Yediah, or knowledge of Torah, is not the same mitzvah as a definite action. 

One may, for example, perform the act of studying Torah without getting to know Torah, and one can know Torah without performing the physical act of studying it. 

The mitzvah of study is a physical mitzvah involving eye, brain, and speech, and is structured accordingly. 

We are thus able to make a distinction between the light of the positive mitzvot and the inner light of the Torah itself. 

Each is at its own level. Just as the mind of the most foolish of men is at a higher level of spiritual vitality than the arm of the wisest of men. 

So too is the mitzvah to know Torah on a very high level, even if the one who does it is himself on a relatively low level of being.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Long Shorter Way by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz