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Our Secret: We will do and we will hear

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Our daughter came home on Friday from kindergarden with a crown on her head, and on it was written "Na'aseh VeNishma" (we will do and we will hear/understand). She learned that this is what the children of Israel enthusiastically declared when standing at Mount Sinai. First of all, we are ready to do, to fulfill what has been demanded of us, and afterwords of course we will also hear the deeper meaning, we will learn and understand.
Throughout history and until today, "Na'aseh venishma" are the two words that have best described the essence of Jewish identity. What is so special about them? What is the phenomenal secret for living that these words contain? Here is one explanation given by our sages: "Anyone whose deeds exceed his wisdom -- his wisdom endures; and anyone whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, his wisdom does not endure. As it is said: we will do and we will understand".
In other words, the order of these words is not arbitrary. For thousands of years, Judaism has been identified with those who first did what was necessary and what was right and only afterwards learned, investigated, and philosophized about what they did. It is important to understand and to find the deeper meaning but it is most important to make sure that deeds exceed wisdom. How much you do is more important than how much you know.


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