The Face Behind the Faces

“Shine your Mind, H’, into my mind”                וּמֵחָכְמָתְךָ, אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, תַּאֲצִיל עָלַי, וּמִבִּינָתְךָ תְּבִינֵֽנִי

(from the early morning prayers)

It is said that Torah has seventy faces upon which we may gaze when we desire to approach Her, but only from an appropriate, respectful distance. The sacred text remains other. This practice is known as Torah study, a foundational component of the Jewish path, and one that serves many roles. For some it offers guidance in observing the precepts of the Law; others find in it profound insights into the largest questions of meaning of life, of the problem of good and evil, of existence as a whole; for yet others it is an intellectually exciting or a culturally enriching experience.

And there is another Torah study, one whose followers have been described variously as “reapers of the field,” or as “those who enter and leave in peace.” Their quest is for the Hidden Face that lies behind the seventy, and It takes them on a journey that is both marvelous and arduous; they must traverse many steps and stages of understanding, each of which requires persistence, intense refinement of being, and good guidance. Its  culmination is the station of bliss described by the Great Eagle* as that in which “the knower, the knowing and the known are one.”

 Of this it is said, “Shine your Mind, H’, into my mind

Go study!

 *Maimonides