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TORAH FOR THE MIND OR HEART?

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

When we study Torah, we are not simply acquiring knowledge; we are entering into a sacred dialogue with the Creator. Our emotions become enlivened as we encounter the wisdom, beauty, and depth of the Torah's teachings. * On Tanya for 16 Tammuz.

by ChatGPT

In today's section of Tanya, the author, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, explains that through engaging with the words of the Torah, we can elevate and refine our emotions, particularly the powerful forces of love and awe of the Almighty.


We often associate Torah study with intellectual pursuit rather than emotional transformation. Yet the Chassidic teachings reveal the remarkable connection between Torah study and the inner workings of our hearts (Tanya, Part III, Ch. 12).


The commentary known as "Ohr HaChaim" by Rabbi Chaim ben Atar sheds light on the transformative power of Torah study. In his commentary on Exodus 24:12, he highlights the verse which states, "Ascend to Me to the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the tablets of stone, the Torah, and the commandment that I have written to instruct them." Ohr HaChaim explains that the ascent to the mountain symbolizes the elevation of the soul through Torah study. It is through this ascent that the Torah's instructions have the power to penetrate and transform our very being (Ohr HaChaim on Exodus 24:12).


The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidic philosophy, teaches that Torah study should not be a mere intellectual exercise; it should be a means of connecting with the Divine on an emotional level. When we study the Torah, we are not simply acquiring knowledge; we are entering into a sacred dialogue with the Creator. Our emotions become enlivened as we encounter the wisdom, beauty, and depth of the Torah's teachings.


The Kotzker Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, further expounds on the role of emotions in Torah study. He teaches that true Torah study should evoke profound emotions within us.


When we study the Torah with passion and fervor, allowing its wisdom to touch the depths of our hearts, we create a powerful bond with the Divine. Our emotions become vessels through which we connect to the divine teachings, allowing them to shape our character and influence our actions (Siddur Baal Shem Tov).


Torah study is not limited to the realm of the intellect; it is a spiritual journey that touches the deepest recesses of our souls, bringing about a profound change within us. As we engage with the words of Torah, let us allow the transformative power of Torah study to guide us in cultivating love, awe, and a deep connection with our Creator.


May our Torah study be a source of inspiration and growth, leading us to a closer relationship with the Almighty and a life filled with purpose and meaning.

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