434. We Should Hang Out: The obligation to cling to people who know God

…to Him you shall cling… (Deuteronomy 10:20)

The Torah tells us to "cling" to God but it doesn't tell us how. Even if it were physically possible, it might not be advisable, seeing as the Torah describes God as a "consuming fire" (Deuteronomy 4:24)! Rather, the Talmud (Kesubos 111b) understands this to mean that we should get close to scholars and their students. One should endeavor to marry the daughter of a scholar, marry his own daughter to a scholar, and the like.

The reason for this mitzvah is that it is highly desirable for us to get close to God. The way to do this is by learning about His ways. We can best learn about Him by hanging around people who know more about Him than we do. Ergo, hanging around scholarly people, well-versed in God's ways is a way to get closer to Him, Q.E.D.

This mitzvah applies to men and women in all times and places. It is discussed in the Talmud in tractate Kesubos on page 111b. This mitzvah is codified in the Mishneh Torah in the sixth chapter of Hilchos Deos. It is #6 of the 248 positive mitzvos in the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos and #16 of the 77 positive mitzvos that can be fulfilled today as listed in the Chofetz Chaim’s Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar.