The sages point out that the finest hour of the Jewish people took place at Mount Sinai when they declared “Naaseh veNishma”, all that Hashem has spoken we will observe and we will heed. It appears that this was an unqualified act of submission of our will. The Gemara in Shabbat in the name of Rabbi Elazar explains the power of the above saying. “Who divulged to my children the secret that only the angels employ.” The divine response was to bestow two crowns on every Jew, one corresponding to Naaseh and the other to Nishma. One could ask, what was so highly significant that warranted such a positive divine reinforcement?
When one goes into greater depths one finds and even stronger question. The Rambam stipulates that man’s most singular characteristic that differentiates him to animal is his ability to think, his ability to acquire information and knowledge. We are human because we have the quality of logos. It therefore seems strange that Am Yisrael’s greatest moment should take place at a time when they acted indiscriminatingly and rashly without giving thought to the ramifications of their acceptance of the Torah. How can man’s greatest moment take place when he removes the faculty that defines his personality?
Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik quoting kabbalistic sources understands that there is a faculty that even supersedes the capacity of thinking and that is intuition. The truth is that at many important times during our lives we often use intuition and rely less on intellection introspection. Most choose their spouse, make religious decisions, decide on profession and deal with major problems using intuition. In fact, when one looks at people who have made tremendous contribution to society and to the world, they generally are those who were able to rely on their intuition. It was a eureka experience of intuition that lead Sir Isaac Newton to understand gravity, for Edison to find the light bulb, for Bill Gates to dream of Windows. It almost appears that mediocrity is the realm of those who rely mainly on their intellectual capabilities.
The Rav understands that this idea is the motivation in many fields of Jewish law as well. One such example is the realm of repentance. A man, who has lived a life of evil, consistently making the wrong decision, suddenly finds the spark and repents late in life. The Halachah determines that such a sinner deserves to be forgiven for his actions. How is his sin and his terrible lifestyle undone in such a short span of time? The answer lies in an elaboration of the above idea. Who am I? Am I just he who has certain intellectual qualities with which I was born? The Halachah understands that the real I goes way beyond this limited faculty. The real I, my soul was never involved in sin, which is only to be connected to truth, which are the laws of the Torah. If I sinned it is because a lower faculty has taken hold of me and I have failed to connect to the real I. Teshuva is therefore merely the realisation that my actions have not properly represented that true I. As much as it is a return to G-d, it is a return to me.
We can clearly conclude by saying that intuition is the realm of the true I, the soul. There are barriers that prevent us form connecting to ourselves. Rav Kook in Orot suggests that one’s true connection can only take place in one’s natural habitat in Eretz Yisrael. Since at home, one feels comfortable and one could be truer to oneself. David Hamelech perhaps understood this when he declared “Song of ascents when G-d returns us to Zion we will be like dreamers.” It is when we begin to dream as a nation and as individuals and rely more on our intuition and on our imagination (like dreamers), that G-d will return us to our home.