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essence of judaism


Rabbi David Sperling

Adar II 3, 5782
I know what Rabbi Hillel said, but what does think the essence of Torah and Judaism is?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. What an interesting one! Of course, the sage Hillel said that not doing to others what one themselves hates is the essence of the Torah, and all the rest is commentary. Rabbi Akiva said that loving another is the major theme of the Torah. Many great Rabbis have tried to summarize into a major thought the essence of the Torah. Perhaps we could say that the essence of the Torah is understanding of the unity of creation. When one comes to live a life with this understanding, they know that every action and deed has meaning, not just for themselves but for the entire creation. This unity gives importance to all our actions, and responsibility for the whole. It is best summed up in the famous verse “Shema Israel – The L-rd Our G-d, the L-rd is One”. Blessings.
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