Let My People Know

"The need to help, to support, to assist in order to bring redemption to the world"


One may find an impressive percentage of Jews—including initiators and leaders—in movements of all kinds that apparently have nothing in common. 

Jews have participated with enthusiasm and great devotion in leftist movements, but also in revolutionary movements that were explicitly rightist. 

Jews have participated in and been active in movements that were essentially cosmopolitan, but, no less so, in liberation movements that were national and partisan. 

Jews have been active in many movements that were materialistic and atheistic by definition, but no less so in movements that had a deeply religious trend, not specifically Jewish.

What these movements have in common is not their particular ideology, but their being a general dream of redemption, that same dream that springs from seeing distress and understanding the need, from the denial of servitude and the wish to bring some part of the world—a state or a nation or a certain race—to a higher level. 

In other words, the dream contains the intention and the desire to bring redemption to the world.

Whenever Jews joined in liberation and redemption—either as leaders and initiators or as members and partners, they never asked how I (as a person, and sometimes as a nation) can benefit.

The reason for this, as we have said, is that the Messiah complex is not based on the personal wish to attain greatness or influence, but on seeing what needs to be reformed, on the sense of duty to act in order to assist in this reform. 

This is the basic and primary urge; even if later on all kinds of wishes or desires are linked up with it, the point of departure is the need to help, to support, to assist in order to bring redemption to the world.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From We Jews, p. 105, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz