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Can someone please recommend an appropriate biblical quote or passage that illustrates (or somehow relates to) the ethic "reaching new levels" (spiritual, emotional, educational)?

  • Daniel, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this interesting question! – Isaac Moses Aug 31 '11 at 19:34
  • @Daniel, how about post-biblical? Rebbe Nachman zy"a speaks about this subject a great deal. – yoel Aug 31 '11 at 22:57
  • So glad to see a few answers here. Much appreciated. Would still love something that speaks more directly to this idea of growth / ascension / elevation. Appreciate the effort. – Daniel Sep 1 '11 at 18:44
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    There's gotta be something in Mishlei, at least, on this. I'd love to see Daniel get more answers, so I'm kicking in a little bounty. – Isaac Moses Sep 6 '11 at 17:59
  • Not a Torah-based quotation, so I'm not putting in an answer, but here's a nice quotation from Anne of Green Gables: "Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them – that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting." – msh210 Jun 15 '14 at 8:44
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Zechariah 3 (7):

כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, אִם-בִּדְרָכַי תֵּלֵךְ וְאִם אֶת-מִשְׁמַרְתִּי תִשְׁמֹר, וְגַם-אַתָּה תָּדִין אֶת-בֵּיתִי, וְגַם תִּשְׁמֹר אֶת-חֲצֵרָי--וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ מַהְלְכִים, בֵּין הָעֹמְדִים הָאֵלֶּה.

'Thus saith the LORD of hosts: If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, and wilt also judge My house, and wilt also keep My courts, then I will give thee free access among these that stand by.

I have heard this explained that man is a "mehalech" (has the potential to move and grow) whereas the angels are "omdim" (incapable of growth).

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+50

"Yelchu Mchail el Choil" (Thilim 84:8) "They advance from strength to strength".

ח יֵלְכוּ, מֵחַיִל אֶל-חָיִל; יֵרָאֶה אֶל-אֱלֹהִים בְּצִיּוֹן.

They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.

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    This was the Lubavitcher Rebbe's favorite way of blessing someone with growth, in both spiritual and physical matters. – HodofHod Jun 13 '12 at 21:16
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We say חזק חזק ונתחזק when we finish each Chumash.

יהושע: כג. ו. וחזקתם מאד לשמר ולעשות את כל הכתוב בספר תורת משה לבלתי סור ממנו ימין ושמאול

ישעיהו: מא. ו. איש את רעהו יעזרו ולאחיו יאמר חזק

עזרא: י. ד. קום כי עליך הדבר ואנחנו עמך חזק ועשה

דברי הימים א: יט. יג. חזק ונתחזקה בעד עמנו ובעד ערי אלהינו ויהוה הטוב בעיניו יעשה

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    ישעיהו: מא. ו. איש את רעהו יעזרו ולאחיו יאמר חזק That passuk is talking about ovdei avodah zara strengthening each other, so it may not be the best choice. – Ariel K Sep 11 '11 at 17:31
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How about Leviticus 19 (2) “kedoshim tihiyu” which the Ramban understands to mean "sanctify yourself by withdrawing from that which is permissible to you". See Rav Frand at http://www.torah.org/learning/ravfrand/5765/kedoshim.html especially the last three paragraphs where he says amongst other things that the Torah wants the holiness of complete human beings.

  • Why'd this get downvoted? Seems like a pretty reasonable answer to me. – Alex Sep 9 '11 at 17:41
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    I didn't downvote, and I don't know why someone did, but 'reaching new levels" is the not same concept as "Be holy". The proper idiom for 'Kedoshim tihiyu' would be 'Do no harm' or something else that involved refraining from an action. – avi Sep 10 '11 at 19:03
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Issac Moses's comment about Mishlei, made it remember that Kohelet has some quotes, though they are not very pithy.

Kohelet 1:16:

טז דִּבַּרְתִּי אֲנִי עִם-לִבִּי, לֵאמֹר--אֲנִי הִנֵּה הִגְדַּלְתִּי וְהוֹסַפְתִּי חָכְמָה, עַל כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-הָיָה לְפָנַי עַל-יְרוּשָׁלִָם; וְלִבִּי רָאָה הַרְבֵּה, חָכְמָה וָדָעַת

I spoke with my heart, saying: 'I have gained great wisdom, more than all that were before me over Jerusalem'; and my heart knows great wisdom and knowledge.

Or Kohelet 2:9 - 10 (given after a long list of accomplishments which could also work as quotes... a bit more pithy)

ט וְגָדַלְתִּי וְהוֹסַפְתִּי, מִכֹּל שֶׁהָיָה לְפָנַי בִּירוּשָׁלִָם; אַף חָכְמָתִי, עָמְדָה לִּי.

I became great and more so, from all before me in Jerusalem, until my wisdom stood for me.

י וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר שָׁאֲלוּ עֵינַי, לֹא אָצַלְתִּי מֵהֶם: לֹא-מָנַעְתִּי אֶת-לִבִּי מִכָּל-שִׂמְחָה, כִּי-לִבִּי שָׂמֵחַ מִכָּל-עֲמָלִי, וְזֶה-הָיָה חֶלְקִי, מִכָּל-עֲמָלִי.

And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from me. I did not withold my heart from any joy, for my heart had joy of all my labour; and this was my portion from all my labour.

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