Re: Four Levels of understanding Torah

Hillel E. Markowitz (hem@hrb.com)
Sun, 25 May 1997 10:07:20 -0400 (EDT)

Irene Bleiweiss <IBLEIWEI@fcc.gov> wrote:
>...discussion of the rivers flowing from/to Gan Eden... I am trying to
>understand it on each of the 4 levels (PRDS) that Moses taught after
receiving >the Torah.

lloviatt@ucdavis.edu responded:
> Please enlighten a very eager but not yet well-educated Jew as to
> what the "four levels" are/mean?

The letters symbolize the four levels of Torah study and together make up
the word "pardes" (orchard):
P - Pshat - the "simple" meaning of the txt
R - Remez - "hint" a deeper level of those elements hinted at by the text
(such as gematriyah - the numerical values of the letters to teach us a
meaning).
D- Drush - Still deeper, the level of learning out basic principles and
meanings from logical commentaries and traditions
S - Sod - "Secret" the deepest level of all which involves the most
esoteric meanings and beliefs. This should be studied only by those who
have mastered all the previous levels and are secure enough to not fall
into error. Kabbalah is an aspect of this level.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
H.E.Markowitz@hrb.com