As he liberates himself from alien influences, the penitent can only gradually straighten himself out.
He has to overcome the forms engraved by time and place before he can reach his own image.
He must break free of the chains, the limitations, and the restrictions imposed by environment and education.
If pursued aimlessly, with no clear goal, this primal search does not transcend the urge to be free; without a vector, it can be spiritually exhausting and may never lead to a genuine discovery of the true self.
In this respect, not in vain has the Torah been perceived as a system of knowledge and insights that guide the individual Jew to reach his own pattern of selfhood.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz