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Shir ha-Shirim XVIII Part Four: Sefirah 40

Shall I say that just as water does not gladden the heart, so the words of Torah? Not so, since it is compared with wine: just as wine rejoices the heart, as it is written, “And wine makes the heart of man glad (Psalms 104:15),” so the words of Torah rejoice the heart, as it says, “The precepts of God are right, rejoicing the heart (Psalms 19:9).” (Shir Hashirim Rabbah


A drink of water will gladden the heart of someone who is desperately thirsty. But it will be the drink, not the nature of the water that brings joy. One who has achieved the “water” approach to Torah, the constant flow of new and invigorating information, will find joy in his Torah study; the joy of expansiveness, purity, insight etc. as described in previous posts, but the joy will not be in the Torah itself but in the accumulation of knowledge, expansiveness etc. He will not yet experience the joy of Torah itself.

The person, after mastering the “water” approach, focus on developing the “wine” intention; he must look for joy in the words of the Torah and not just the growth they afford.

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