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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Multiple layers of garments.”

Torah is God’s wisdom, yet the bulk of the Torah a person studies deals with very basic topics, mundane concepts which are readily understood.

Examples of such subjects include oxen and donkeys, wool and tzitzit, and so forth.

On the surface, engaging in these commonplace matters bears no relation to God’s divine wisdom, which no thought can grasp; on the contrary, these concepts are easily comprehensible.

In order to better understand this we ought to recall the analogy the author of the Tanya employs of a person who embraces the king while the latter is wearing multiple layers of garments.

Despite there being several layers of clothing separating the person and the king, ultimately, he is embracing the king.

Similarly, God’s wisdom is embedded in the Torah we possess, wrapped in layer upon layer of “garments.”

The idea presented here is that the value of this exterior garment within which the Torah is wrapped, e.g., its ethical values or therapeutic powers, is not as important as the core truth of its inner essence: that the King Himself lies within it.

Notwithstanding the ancillary benefits these garments provide, the Torah at its core is God’s pure and unalloyed will and wisdom.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz