Let My People Know

"We do not know the full extent of what we can do"


Creating a vast new lake, or destroying species, are not intrinsically different from what other creatures do, but the dimensions of the event have many more implications.

What is more important, however, is that our flexibility and our free choice—even in the narrow limits within which our physical existence can be sustained—make it possible for us to do amazing things, some of which no other creature can do. 

We can create permanent radioactivity, we can genetically engineer. 

Our emotional and spiritual capacity is even broader than our physical existence, and therefore we can do even more in those realms. 

We do not know the full extent of what we can do, nor all of the sometimes frightening, sometimes uplifting, always surprising consequences of our actions.

Our freedom compels us to be more, rather than less, careful about what we do, because we have the power to do So much. 

The need for deliberation about our deeds goes further than general caution. 

If we make changes which are too abrupt, or go against the grain, or exceed a certain limit, we damage the fabric of existence. 

For even if we believe that nature does not care about good and evil, it seems that nature does care about sustaining basic forms of life. 

Certain things that we have created go against nature—not because they are impossible, but because they go against this sustaining flow. 

We have to keep within certain boundaries; if we do not, we may kill ourselves, both physically and psychologically. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Simple Words by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz