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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “A private version of Creation”

The study of Torah is considered the greatest mitzvah, greater even than prayer, because it enables one to be identified with the will of God, with the act of Divine creation itself.

One is thereby engaged in the very thoughts of God, participating in the structuring of the universe.

What is important to realize is that this is true at all levels of study.

Although, to be sure, it is not altogether true when there is distortion.

When one introduces one’s own personal ideas and preferences into the Torah, one is very liable to sever the contact, for one is no longer thinking God’s thoughts.

On the other hand, one may make a mistake, such as a technical one, and still continue to think God’s thoughts.

Moreover, because thought is a dialectic process, full of many possible extenuations, one’s explanations may be only approximate truths.

It is as though Torah were the blueprint of the world, and in order to construct one’s own building, one would have to draw one’s own extensions to the master plan, creating a private version of Creation with all the inevitable errors, erasures, and corrections.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz