Chassidim would say that when learning Torah, one must take utmost care not to forget the Giver of the Torah, but to study in a state of humble awe.

There were once two men named Eizik. Both wereBoth were great Torah sages great Torah sages as well as venerable chassidim of the first Chabad rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Lyadi. Since one of them hailed from Homel (Gomel) and the other from Vitebsk, they were known as Reb Eizik Homler and Eizik Vitebsker respectively.

In his youth, Reb Eizik Vitebsker had studied Torah at the feet of his learned uncle, Reb Zemle, whose reputation for erudition and insight was known throughout the land. But that was before Eizik had become a chassid and begun learning from Rabbi Schneur Zalman.

Reb Eizik of Homel once asked his friend from Vitebsk, “What is the difference between the Torah that you learned from your uncle and the Torah that you now learn from our rebbe?”

Reb Eizik of Vitebsk burst into tears and replied, “Aside from the actual learning – with his piercing logic, our rebbe opened our eyes to how Torah must be analyzed and applied – the main difference is how we feel after we finished learning.”

We are broken-hearted over our unrefined state

Nu,” said the man from Homel, “what is the difference in how you feel after study?”

Reb Eizik, still sobbing, replied, “After my uncle would conclude a lecture, we would all feel elated. Thank G‑d, we have mastered another Torah thought and made it our own. But after hearing a Torah class from the Rebbe, we feel a new awareness of the one who gave the Torah—G‑d Himself—and a great sense of humility. We are broken-hearted over our own unrefined state, and recognize how much harder we have to work to connect to the Giver of the Torah.”