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Jewish Culture

Learning is for everyone

Moshe Unger
Posted 5/19/23

My favorite Jewish holiday falls on next Friday and Saturday, the 26th and 27th of May. The holiday is called Shavuos and it celebrates the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The Torah consists of …

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Jewish Culture

Learning is for everyone


My favorite Jewish holiday falls on next Friday and Saturday, the 26th and 27th of May. The holiday is called Shavuos and it celebrates the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The Torah consists of the Bible and its interpretation. The interpretation was first transmitted orally and many years later the oral tradition was also written down. 

The Bible has had an immense impact on world history. Today, almost all religions are Monotheistic, which they learned from the Torah, and even many Eastern religions reformed throughout the ages to believe in one G-d. Also, the values that the Bible taught the world are the underpinnings of almost all moral and ethical ideas that people have today. Examples are respect for human life, justice and equality, education, family, and social responsibility. Even someone who is not religious can appreciate the value that there is in the Bible and what it brought to the world. 

In Judaism, knowledge and toil in learning are sacred acts and are also a religious service. In prayer, a person speaks to G-d, in learning, G-d speaks to the person. 

Everything in the world needs a “user’s manual”. Way before companies started to print and attach them to appliances, the Creator instilled in every animal and in every living thing instructions how to live. There is a vast body of information in every living cell, that relegates and instructs the cell in all its functions. The same is true for humans. The Creator put in the soul common sense to be the user’s manual for the human. 

However, common sense is not enough. “For God made man straight, but they sought many intrigues” (Ecclesiastes 7,29). Humans are smart enough to obscure their common sense! To think straight, we need to continuously study and learn. 

There is something enlightening in studying even non-sacred works. Many times, I wonder at people who express views that they never pondered or even read about. Ignorance is fertile ground for other people and entities to come in and plant all sorts of ideas in the minds of people that are not their own thoughts and ideas. 

On the other hand, keeping a habit of daily study, makes a person find constant renewal and enlightenment. A new insight brings a burst of life in the mind and is felt in the entire body. 

If this is so with general knowledge, how much more so with texts of the Torah and the Bible. Every story and every piece of Torah has significance and depth and every time it is reread the depth unfolds more and more. 

On Shavuot, the custom is to eat dairy delicacies and sweets. A reason to it might be as follows. Gourmet foods and wines can have different appeals to different people. Children generally don’t like them; it takes time and maturity to appreciate rich and good food. That’s not the case with sweets. A good cookie or other sweets need no level of sophistication to like. The same is with study and learning. It’s available to everyone and everyone can begin learning, even if they haven’t done studying for a long time. Of course, as one studies more the studying becomes richer and more mature, but there is something for everyone in the Torah. 

There is a wealth of interesting websites for all levels of Torah. Examples are: aish.com, Chabad.org, AlephBeta.org, rabbisacks.com, and much more.

There is an organization called Torah Mates which matches up people to study and chat on the phone half an hour a week. A friend of mine is involved in this organization, and I’ll be happy to answer questions about it or to help find the right study partner for you. 

Let me know your thoughts…

Email me: moshe@mosheunger.com.


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