Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Spiritual pleasure inherent in worship.”

Anyone who worships God knows that there is an aspect of spiritual pleasure inherent in worship.

As Rabbi Sheshet says, “Rejoice, my soul, rejoice, my soul; for you have I read [the Torah], for you have I studied [the Mishna]” (Pesahim 68b).

What could be better?

We are not talking about contemptible people who derive physical benefits from their worship, but about pure spiritual pleasure.

Whether it is the act of getting up to pray or sitting down to study Torah, that moment has the potential to be the pinnacle of a person’s worldly pleasure, unconnected to any concern about one’s share in the World to Come.

I was once the guest of a Jewish dairy farmer who lived on a kibbutz.

He did physical labor for close to eight hours each day – and he was not a young man – and then he would bathe, have a small meal, and sit for between eight and nine hours studying Talmud.

And whenever it was possible, he would study for another few hours after that.

The fact that he studied bareheaded and that his home lacked a mezuza had nothing to do with the simple pleasure he derived from connecting with God through Torah study.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz