Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The main direction is basically vertical, upward, and downward”

The objects to which Torah directs us extend from one end of the universe to the other, from the edifying “Know the God of thy fathers” to the injunction to wash the hands before morning prayers.

Both these are Torah and there is no contradiction.

The main direction is basically vertical, upward, and downward: I in my place, try to raise myself out of the trivial to the great.

First I try (the way of Chesed) to use prayer to forget the problems of daily life.

In the ardor of worship, I seek to burn out the ordinary, to extricate myself from the tangle of the insignificant detail and the trite.

They cease to count so much.

Then in performing the mitzvah (the way of Gevurah) I do the opposite: I take something of the Divine holiness and inject it into the trivial.

While in Torah (the way of Tiferet), I do both at the same time; they are merged in a unified act.

For Torah contains both Love and Fear, the right and the left side together.

When a person does a mitzvah, he does not necessarily add anything to himself, but when a person studies Torah, he does acquire something.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz