The Salant Center
eMussar - The Wisdom of Personal Growth
THE WISDOM OF THE TALMUD
The Zohar tells us that there are four descending dimensions or worlds. The highest world is the World of Emanation, which branches into the World of Creation. The World of Creation branches into the World of Formation, and The World of Formation branches into The World of Deeds. The first three worlds are spiritual worlds. Conversely, the World of Deeds is a material world and the purpose of creation. Accordingly, the actions and conduct of the human being are of primary importance, i.e., the central focus of HaShem.
The Talmud (Brachos 17a) states: "The goal of wisdom is repentance and good deeds." The import of this statement is not that 'the main thing is the deed,' rather, that the purpose of wisdom is not merely to become an intellectual. More accurately, the purpose of wisdom is to learn what are the good deeds, as defined by the Torah - and to do them without hesitation.
In light of this, Rabbi Simcha Zissel (a Mussar sage from 1800's) asserted that there is a qualitative difference between Torah and other wisdoms. Regarding other wisdoms, a student advances from first grade to second grade, etc. The student continues in this manner until he reaches the highest level and receives his degree.
The Torah student attends first grade where he learns the basics. Then in the following years, he begins the study of the Torah that eventually leads to the dimension of holiness and purity. However, his goal is not to remain in this elevated level. Rather, his purpose is to return to "the simple level," i.e., the level of doing a good deed, simply because it is the very core of the Torah.
May the study of Torah educate and inspire us to perform good deeds and uphold its great principles. In this way, we will fulfill the purpose of our creation and the very purpose of creation of the universe. (Based on Da'as Torah of Rav Yerucham HaLevi)
TODAY: Do an act of kindness as soon as the opportunity arises.