Let My People Know

"The key to Torah that is yours, your way, that speaks to you"

When, in the Talmud, Rav Yosef asks the son of Raba: "What commandment was your father most particular about?" he is inquiring not only which commandment he kept most meticulously, but also which was most important to him.

In another book, the word meaning observant, careful, particular also means to shine. 

So that the Talmud question reads: In which mitzvah did your father feel most of the light? 

Sometimes there is something that passes before one like a flash of lightning or a resplendent illumination that lights up one's way. 

It is that key to Torah that is yours, your way, that speaks to you. 

Some people find this key in the realm of intellectual content. 

Others, in the doing of certain actions, the performance of mitzvot, and this has as much meaning for them as the complex idea of the intellectual or mystical experiences of the kabbalist. 

All lead to the inner chambers of the Divine presence. 

The point is that for each seeker such a key is the hidden secret of one's destiny; beyond rational explanation, it remains beautiful and personally meaningful for a significant period of time if not for all of one's life. 

The other side of the same truth is that each one is expressing the same thing, the same melody in six hundred thousand voices. 

For every person has his own unique voice, even when the song is the same. 

If a person is unsure of himself, and wishes to know whether his way is appropriate to him, one of the tests of validity would be to examine its flexibility—whether it can be translated into different levels of the hidden or the manifest, as the case may be. 

It should lend itself with ease to a variety of expressions. 

If this cannot be done, if his key cannot open the whole of Torah, it may be necessary to reexamine that key and see if it is not perhaps a delusion. 

There should be more than one way of getting to any problem of truth. 

A problem, whether it concerns mathematics or science or spiritual reality, can usually be solved in more than one way. 

What is essential is that all the approaches should lead to the same correct solution. 

Some go through the air, some by sea, others over land. 

All should lead to an equivalent answer, even if couched in different words, even if they sound oddly at variance.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From "Mysticism in the Jewish Tradition," an essay by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz