“For some of our people it’s almost like the story of the duckling that was hatched by a hen.
Too often, our ducklings grow up in a different atmosphere.
They are taught to think and act in ways that are entirely alien.
Jews have adopted a lot of other cultures, national identities, and sometimes even religions.
Sometimes there is a very wonderful recognition and return.
Frequently, it comes as a very unpleasant discovery that ‘I am somehow different,’ that ‘my medium is a different medium.’
When a Jew finds water, so to speak, he will swim in it, even though those who raised him and taught him don’t.
Finding out somehow to which family one belongs is a familiar theme in literature, and in life, knowingly or unknowingly, each person begins to discover it.
If the discovery comes soon enough, the person is not only able to acknowledge the fact that he belongs somewhere—at least to be buried in the right graveyard—but also to make his life, in a way, more sensible.
Paradoxically, freedom comes with the acceptance of a definite framework from which one cannot move away.”
From Pebbles of Wisdom from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (forthcoming)