A few months ago in the courtyard of his home in Malibu, Calif., TV personality Simon Cowell tested out his new electric motorcycle. He ended up falling off of it and broke his back in several places.

After a five-hour surgery, he tweeted: “Some good advice ... If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time. I have broken part of my back. Thank you to everyone for your kind messages.” Nearly paralyzed, he has a long road to recovery.

When we get something new and exciting, who is eager toWho wants to stop and read the manual? sit down and read the manual that comes with it? We feel like skipping the vital step of reading the instructions so we can get going already.

The same is true of life. We want to jump right in and get going, but without taking time to absorb the Divine directions given to us, how can we really know which way to go?

Like so many others, I didn’t know that this world came with Divine directions. I had no idea that there were positive guidelines for healing and building our world, as well as warnings we could follow to help prevent its destruction. I simply wasn’t brought up with the understanding that “Instructions for Living” is what our Torah actually is!

And life really was dangerous for me without clear guidelines. With sliding morals and no logical framework for comprehending the seeming randomness of events that came my way, I got increasingly more lost as the years went by. I may have looked outwardly successful, but inside I became progressively more confused and empty. Seeking ever more desperately to find what could bring fulfillment, I basically got taken for a ride again and again.

Growing up, I thought of Bible stories as little more than fairytales. When I was finally able to get glimpses into the vast richness of the Torah, I found that the Torah could provide enlightenment on multiple levels simultaneously. It could help guide children to joyfully grow into more kind and caring people, just as it could help adults seeking to have the mysteries of the Universe revealed. And it could do that even within one tiny Hebrew letter! Even the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the yud, has vast lessons to unfold. Being the Divine language with which the world was created, the aleph-bet is an overflowing treasure trove.

When I got to attend my first Torah class, I was amazed to find that breakthrough research results in the field of psychology that I had studied as an undergraduate at Harvard were already explained within the Torah (written ages before). Would my professors have ever advised me to look there for the greatest expertise about how human beings operate?

Through studying our trusty guidebook, a comprehensive framework emerged. Life stopped feeling scary; the knowledge was empowering. We are spiritual beings given mitzvot to do with our physical bodies in this physical world so that we can connect with our Creator. Throughout the day, we are given gratitude exercises to heighten our awareness and savor life more fully.

What’s amazing is that it’s never too late to begin thisIt’s never too late to begin this discovery process discovery process. We can get the most value from the manual that came with our world—not just by skimming through its pages, but through exploring it in a deeper way than we may have ever attempted before.

Learning by ourselves, with a partner, or in an online class, we essentially get to peek, so to speak, into the mind of the Designer of the Universe. After all, these instructions come from the Designer of the mundane, yet miraculously, ever-reproducing tiny seed, the infinite cosmos, the entire expanse of time, as well as every uniquely beautiful soul that ever existed.

In our Torah, which is called the blueprint of all Creation, we can probe the depths of the most sacred manual ever written and integrate its wisdom as if our lives truly depend on it.