Three white greek pillars standing as sun is setting behind

Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter 1

Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter 1

Botton, Rabbi Yitzchak
May 11, 2022

In Mishna 1:2, Shimon HaTzaddik states that the world stands on three pillars: Torah, Avoda (service of Hashem), and Gemilut Chassadim (acts of kindness).


Torah is an expression of Divine Will and Wisdom. Through Torah study, we connect to the Wisdom of Hashem, and through the performance of practical mitzvot, we fulfill the Will of Hashem.


Torah and mitzvot are the sole way humans can connect to our Creator. The melachim (angels), who abide in the upper worlds, experience an open revelation of Hashem. Humans, who reside in the lower worlds, experience a revelation of Hashem’s Divine light, which is both concealed and contracted.


This seems to imply we are at a disadvantage. However, whereas in the upper world, the melachim view merely a reflection of His essence, in the lower world, humans are able to connect the essence via Torah study and performance of mitzvot.


(The above concepts are derived from a lecture by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton)