Let My People Know

"Fear is a basic concept in Judaism"


Fear (or awe) is not a very popular concept in the modern world. 

We prefer love–even those who do not like to talk about it. 

Love is the latest fad. 

Fear is something we avoid talking about. 

It is a devalued term and, in fact, is hard to understand. 

Nevertheless, fear is a basic concept in Judaism. 

It is so specifically Jewish that it has always been a stumbling block for other religions or philosophies. 

For example. in antiquity, the Greeks never grasped what the Jews meant by fear of God.

The proof is that the pagans who converted to Judaism, and in particular the "semi-proselytes," were called "the Godfearing" ones. 

The concept of fear was very novel to them.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Seven Lights, p. 233, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz