These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Heschel on Halakha

Posted on February 1, 2012 by Heligman

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“Halacha deals with the law; agada (intention) with the meaning of the law.  Halacha deals with subject that can be expressed literally; agada introduces us to a realm which lies beyond the range of expression… Halacha, by necessity, deals with the laws in the abstract, regardless of the totality of the person. It is agada that keeps on reminding us that the purpose of performance is to transform the performer, that the purpose of observance is to train us in achieving spiritual end… Agada is a flame which depends upon the hot coal of the halacha, and he who separates the two extinguishes the light of Judaism that burns in the flame.”

– Abraham Joshua Heschel