Torah Thoughts

As a Jew who is separated from teachers both by physical isolation and by differences of opinion and style, I take comfort in this blessing:

Blessed are You, Hashem, who teaches Torah to Your people Israel.

Despite my often liberal bent, I do believe in my own way that Torah and its study are foundational to Jewish existence, identity, and spirituality.

Of course, as a person whose basic inclination is toward mysticism, I interpret “Torah” as broadly as possible to encompass all the truth available to us through inspiration. This, however, does not lessen for me the importance of the study of our foundational Jewish texts–Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, and of course the Siddur.

So given the lack of a teacher, and given my determination to learn Torah nevertheless, what should I do? I study on my own and find that I have a Teacher after all.

Lately, I have been praying slowly and repeatedly through the initial blessings in the Shacharit service. As I do, I find comfort and centering. I also regularly discover new meaning in words I pray as often as possible–the fulfillment of the blessing, “Who teaches Torah to Your people Israel.”