Let My People Know

" You cannot live for others, and you cannot live vicariously"


A people cannot "just go on." 

Individuals can struggle for personal survival. 

But for a people that knows that it has lost, a struggle for mere survival seems just silly. 

Survival for what? 

If I am going to lose anyway, if I am going to die in a generation, or in two generations – there are all kinds of demographic calculations – why go to the effort of trying to make my own children miserable when my grandchildren will already forget all about Judaism? 

Why go on? 

If you lack not just hope for survival, but hope for something greater in the future, you cannot go on fighting. 

With only a past and no future, you cannot go on.
I know that for many people, the State of Israel is a vicarious answer for unsolved problems. 

But you cannot go on living vicariously; it makes no sense.
Just as I cannot eat for someone else, I cannot sleep for someone else – and no one wants me to beget his children for him – I also cannot pray or study for anyone else. 

You cannot live for others, and you cannot live vicariously. 

Life is something that you have to do on your own.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From an essay, "What Will Become of the Jewish People?" May 21, 1995, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz