Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Slow Reading of The Introduction to "The Path of the Just" (Part 9)


"If we would only investigate the matter honestly we would arrive at the truth and we would do ourselves a favor and others as well, by teaching it to them and improving them too. Solomon was referring to this when he said, 'If you would search for it as you would for silver, and desire it as a hidden treasure, then you would understand G-d-reverence ...' (Proverbs 2:4-5). He does not say, ' ...then you will understand philosophy', '...then you will understand astronomy', ' ...then you will understand medicine', ' ...then you will understand law', or ' ...then you will understand halacha' -- but rather, ' ...then you will understand G-d-reverence'. So you see that in order to attain G-d-reverence you must search for it as you would for silver, and desire it like a hidden treasure. This is from among the things that have been taught to us from our ancestors, and what is accepted axiomatically by members of our faith."

"Can time be found for the study of all things, but not this? Why can we not set aside some period of time to at least look into the matter, if the rest of our limited time demands of us other studies or considerations? It says in Job 28:28, 'Hen (behold) G-d-reverence is itself wisdom.' Our sages said (Shabbat 31B), 'Hen implies one, as we find in the Greek language one is hen.' So reverence is wisdom -- it alone is wisdom; and what does not involve study cannot be referred to as wisdom. The fact is that profound analysis rather than fantasy and weak logic is called for to arrive at the truth in all of these matters, as is certainly the case in the acquisition and full comprehension of them."

Translation of text (c) 1996 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Original comments (c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman