Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “A basic tenet of our belief system.”

The Torah describes the Jewish people as follows: “This great nation is certainly a wise and understanding people” (Deut. 4:6).

The notion of an entire people that is “wise and understanding” is a basic tenet of our belief system.

In almost every society and culture, a class distinction exists between the learned and the ignorant, and often is even considered an ideal social framework.

The aspiration of the Jewish people, however, is quite the opposite.

We believe that, ideally, everyone should be wise and understanding.

Every member of Israel should reach the highest level possible.

From this standpoint, there is a fundamental difference between the Jewish people and other societies.

There is no point at which a Jew is told that he is no longer permitted to learn and understand more of the divine will. Even at Sinai, where God spoke with Israel face to face, all of Israel were present, without any distinctions.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz