Transforming Torah Study

Even though I (mostly) identify as Lubavitch, I’m interested in learning about Judaism and the Torah from a number of different perspectives. And one of the most fascinating ones is the Breslov perspective. Breslov Chassidim- followers of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov- are remarkably similar to Lubavitchers in many ways, but lack a major presence in England. However, there are prominent Breslov movements in Israel, which focus on spreading joy among all kinds of people, a truly worthy and righteous occupation in my eyes. As such, I sometimes find myself reading Breslov literature online, and today, I came across a ascinating insight from Likutey Moharan;

”It is very good when you can make prayers out of your studies. Whenever you hear or study words of Torah, make a prayer out of it. Ask God to help you to be worthy of fulfilling whatever it is that you just learned. A wise person will understand how to go about forming these prayers. Although hitbodedut is in itself very great, this aspect of hitbodedut (turning Torah into prayer) is extremely great. It causes enormous delight Above.”

I can really relate with this lesson and I think it’s deeply important. On a similar note, it’s too easy,  when studying Torah, to put too much emphasis upon the ‘study’, and not enough on the ‘Torah’. It’s not like revising for an exam or taking a test. It’s the Word of G-d, the story of our ancestors- of us, even. It wasn’t just our ancestors who were taken out of Mitzrayim in the Exodus- it was us. And we need to remember this and keep in mind G-d’s miracles and power when we study the Torah. It’s not ‘just a book’, chas v’sholom. It’s our heritage, our gift, our history. We need to connect with it, through prayer and through good deeds.

 

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