The three schools-Musar, Chakira, and Chasidus-are mutually dependent. The first is a basis and step toward the second; the second complements the first and becomes the basis and step toward the third. The third completes the other two in that it brings into rational perspective the basic principle of creation: The foundation of foundations and pillar of wisdoms, [is] to know that there is a First Existence Who brings into being every existence, and all that exist in heaven and earth and between them, exist only by virtue of His existence (Maimonides1).

This singular expression of Maimonides, 2to know that there is a First Existence rather than to believe, has frequently been discussed. It indicates the obligation to understand this subject to the best of one's abilities. Maimonides goes even further, saying, 3 The knowledge of this principle is a positive commandment, included in the first words of the Ten Commandments-I am the L-rd your G‑d. Now the words4 I am . . . , contain the obligation of faith, yet even here Maimonides employs the term knowledge.

The connection here between faith and knowledge is this: The duty of faith concerns pure, simple faith, transcending the realm of intellect. But first one must strive with one's mind to grasp to the extent of one's intellectual capacities. Beyond that limit of understanding, he is to believe with simple faith.5 By achieving the maximum of understanding, and by following it with faith, one fulfills the mitzvah faith to perfection. For his faith is pure, encompassing nothing that might be understood.