Before partaking of bread—a metaphor for man’s involvement with the material—we prepare ourselves spiritually with the washing of the hands... Sinai

The road out of Egypt leads through Sinai....

Torah regulates our involvement with the material. It commands that we may, and ought, to create, manufacture and deal six days a week; on the seventh day, however, not only must all work cease but we are to assume a mindset in which "all your work is concluded." On a daily basis, it tells us to set aside inviolable "islands in time" devoted to Torah study and prayer. At all times, a multitude of Torah laws define the permissible and the forbidden in business and pleasure.

The Torah also enjoins us to "eat of the toil of your hands"—to invest only our marginal faculties in the business of earning a living, leaving our choice talents free to pursue more spiritual goals. And it insists that all material pursuits be but a means to an end, but a vessel to receive G‑d’s blessings and a tool to aid us in our life’s work to bring sanctity and G‑dliness into our world.

In so regulating our physical lives, Torah liberates our souls.

By defining the extent and the nature of our material involvements, Torah extricates our capacity for infinite and non-definitive commitment from its material exile and frees it to follow its natural course: to serve G‑d in a manner of "endlessness and purposelesness," in a manner that transcends the parameters of self, self-gain and our very conceptions of "achievement."