Let My People Know

"Heresy and atheism require that a person should at least know what he is rejecting"


The fundamental problems of life today are the same as those of one thousand and three thousand years ago. 

There is the same wretchedness and suffering of the heart as ever. 

The only difference is that many people keep God out of bounds—even when they are really looking for Him everywhere.

Many people say "I don't believe," and may even be convinced of it in all sincerity. 

But it is not at all so simple. 

Heresy and atheism require that a person should at least know what he is rejecting. 

When the modern Jew declares, "I don't believe," he is really saying that he does not believe in the things that religious people believe in. 

Moreover, in most cases, what is really happening to the person is something altogether different. 

Most concepts of belief and of Jewishness are acquired in the kindergarten years, with perhaps occasional additions in the preparation for bar mitzvah. 

When these childish conceptions confront a man's adult knowledge, it is no wonder that they are promptly rejected as inappropriate in the declaration "I don't believe." 

Often enough, someone who considers himself a wicked and even sinful person is only an innocent who does not even know enough to ask the right questions.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From On Being Free, p. 90, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz