Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “One must always progress and improve.”

The Mishna in Pirkei Avot criticizes the person “whose wisdom is greater than his deeds” (3:17).

This is not a repudiation of wisdom, but merely a safeguard:

If a person does not want wisdom to affect him like a “deadly poison,” he must always apply it.

To be sure, no matter how much one applies his wisdom, it is never enough;

One must always progress and improve.

The Talmud in Ketubbot 50a advises teachers of young children that once a pupil has reached the age of six, “stuff him like an ox,”  i.e. feed him as much knowledge as possible.

At the same time, however, a persons fear of sin should take precedence over his wisdom – his wisdom must never exceed his ability to use it.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz