Rabbi Steinsaltz: “Man’s task is to stand up to the trial.”


Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz writes:

There is a story in the Zohar of the king who wished to test the virtue of his son and thus sent a whore to tempt him.

Her task is rather ambiguous, if not actually frustrating, for her success might be, in reality, failure for all concerned.

And yet the test has to be a real trial; it cannot be make- believe.

Therefore, she hires another whore who, not understanding the meaning of the test, tempts him wholeheartedly.

From which, it may be gathered, the actual essence of evil is complex–the lower levels of evil do not even know that their function is only to serve as a temptation.

They enter the contest in all enthusiasm, even though their whole function will collapse as soon as man succeeds in standing up to the test.

It is as though God says to evil: “Very well, it is all over; the tempter may go home.”

Man, however, cannot do this.

It is God’s task.

Man’s task is to stand up to the trial.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From The Long Shorter Way, Chapter 29

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