"The Way of G-d"
Part 4: "Divine Service"
Ch. 2: "Torah Study"
There are two frames of mind we'd have to enter into to reap the full
of Torah-study. We'd first need to revere what we're learning, and then
have to be committed to bettering ourselves all along (which we'll discuss
more next time).
After all, if I don't fully realize that I'm reading G-d's wishes for me
outright and in depth (which Torah study is at bottom on an individual
level), and if I'm not so *dumbfounded* by that fact as to be willing to
entire being in the process, then I'd almost be better off not studying
The best way to assume those frames of mind we're told is to recall
not usually thought about when Torah is studied, which is the direct input
G-d's will and presence has upon what we're delving into. (Along those
it's reported that a certain exalted soul would always say the following
he'd study practical halacha, "It turns out that G-d wants me to do thus-
right now", quite literally taking G-d's role in Torah into
After all, G-d's will informs the entire Torah each and every moment (much
way our will to succeed at an important task, for example, would clearly
inform every move we make in the course of it).
We're likewise to recall that G-d has connected the sublime transcendent
force that lies behind the Torah to it, as we said (see 4:2:2), thus
that much more potency and import. For without all that in mind Torah-
be no different from any secular academic inquiry, when it's actually far
more transcendent than that and has the unique ability to rectify one's
being -- as well as the world -- as nothing else can.
So we'd need to be acutely aware of that when we study Torah, and to
it with awe and deference. It would do well for us to say something like
following when we start to study Torah, "I hereby set out to approach G-d
Almighty with my studies now and to be a receptacle of His great Light!";
would be important to be suddenly struck by our own smallness in G-d's
just then, yet humbly thrilled by the prospect of the vistas about to be
before us. It goes without saying that we'd also need to do all we could
being frivolous and to not show any sort of disrespect for what's said or
One who's saying it.
Only Torah-study done is such a spirit and frame of mind is capable of
nourished by the sublime transcendent force we cited above, of being
by G-d's Presence, and of helping to rectify all of creation. Any other
would simply be an instance of reading notes someone left behind and
about it; nothing more. In fact if you studied Torah in *that* fashion
actually be rudely and audaciously encroaching upon holy ground and
frivolously and far too familiarly with the Groundskeeper, which is
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.