In our daily prayer for Revelation we say: “Compassionate God, inspire us to know and understand, to listen, learn and teach, to observe and uphold with love all the teachings of Your Torah.” From these few lines, we can infer a great deal about the Jewish approach to learning.
That first spark of inspiration for learning, that first impulse of curiosity is described as God-sent. What we do with it, then, speaks to our own ability and character.
- There is the difference between “understanding” and “knowing.” According to our siddur they are not one and the same, and they are both necessary in order to receive full revelation.
- Study is a form of worship. The prayerbook itself is infused with texts. Discovery of God’s world, the discernment of ideas are worthy forms of praise for The Source of Creation.
- Some study is for the sake of the learning itself. It is the means and the end. Some study is for the purpose of application and action. Judaism calls us to pursue them both.
One of the things I most admire about Holy Blossom Temple is that we are a congregation of learners. There is an unquenchable thirst for “knowledge” and “understanding.” With advanced degrees and expertise across the disciplines, congregants assume a) there is always more to learn and b) it’s most enriching when we learn together. When different minds come together around one theme, one text, one idea – our learning is more full and more fulfilling.
Such learning requires giving and receiving. We each walk away from the study table carrying old gems, newly polished. It’s impossible to measure how what we learn informs what we do, but I am certain there is an invisible line of connection between the two.
Our spring line-up continues with formal and experiential education for children, teens, and adults. Our rabbis and cantors, teachers, tutors, congregant-volunteers, and visiting scholars offer a wide range of opportunities to expand our “knowledge” as well as our “understanding.” Our doors are open to the broader community to learn with us, so you are welcome to bring a friend.
Life can blossom here.
To view our The Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom Temple Calendar, please click here to…