The Essence of Study

Late one night, Reb Dov Ber (the "Mitler Rebbe" of Chabad) was up studying Torah in his parents' house in Liadi. Suddenly, there was a knock on his chamber door, and his father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the first Rebbe of Chabad, walked in. Reb Dov Ber stood in respect.

"My son, what were you studying just now?"

"I was studying the kabbalistic writings of the Arizal, father," Reb Dov Ber replied.

"Do you find them profound?" Reb Shneur Zalman asked.

"Father, they contain the secrets of the universe."

"And do they uplift you?"

"When I study them, I feel as if I were standing before the Supernal Assembly."

His father paused. "My son, several minutes ago, on the floor just below you, a baby fell out of its crib and was crying. I was upstairs, also studying. But when I heard it cry, I ran downstairs to help, for I was sure that you were asleep . . . . No matter how profound and uplifting is the study of Torah, one must never become so engaged that he fails to hear the cries of another human being."

(C) Eliezer Shore, Bas Ayin