Let My People Know

"A recognition of human diversity"


A person taking up Jewish religious life must not forsake his own historic roots, but must actively seek them out. 

Grandparents, ever a source of family lore, may also be living examples to be emulated. 

If one's grandparents are no longer accessible, it may still be possible to trace one's Jewish roots back to earlier generations. 

Such a search amounts to an acceptance, not merely a reluctant acknowledgement, of the pluralism and diversity in Jewish tradition. 

Even in Ezekiel's messianic vision, there are separate gates to the Temple for each of the twelve tribes. 

The Sages explain these as being different gates for different people, "each of the Israelites remaining bound to the ancestral portion of his father's tribe" (Numbers 36:7). 

Here we see not an inability to unite but a recognition of human diversity. 

Similarly, the Sages describe Elijah's role at the time of the final redemption as that of restoring the Israelites, one by one, to their tribes and families. 

Israel is to be united, not as the result of a blurring of the differences among the tribes, but when each can relate to the others on the basis of confidence in, and open expression of, its own distinctiveness.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Teshuvah by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz