Let My People Know

"The more we judge others based on the body and its characteristics, the more unequal society becomes":

People are not truly equal but the differences between them are of no account. 

The more we judge others based on the body and its characteristics, the more unequal society becomes. 

When we believe that one person is somehow superior to another, true equality is impossible. 

Under these circumstances, there cannot be real love of others. 

The Hasidim considered distinctions such as youth and old age, poverty and wealth, and scholarship and illiteracy to be of relatively little importance. 

It is not that one ignores the facts; it is a matter of relationship. 

How important are these elements in creating relations between people? 

Among the Kotzker Hasidim, the spirit of equality reached an extreme. 

When Rabbi Leibele Eiger (grandson of Rabbi Akiva Eiger, one of the great masters of Torah) became a Hasid, his family sent someone to Kotzk to determine the extent of the "calamity."

When the traveler came to Kotzk, he asked for Rabbi Leibele by his usual titles, but no one had heard of such a person. 

At last the traveler realized that in Kotzk he was referred to no differently than the simplest of Jews. 

When he at last found Rabbi Leibele, he saw him dressed as a simple Jew and sitting with the Hasidim as an equal among equals. 

At that moment, an ordinary Jew dressed in ragged clothing approached, and the Hasidim rose to meet him.

The visitor asked, "Is that a great Torah scholar?" 

The Hasidim replied, "No, he can barely learn a chapter of Mishnah." 

"Is he from a great family, then?" 

"No, he is the son of a laborer." 

"Is he wealthy, at least?" 

"You yourself can see how he is dressed." 

"So why do you honor him?" 

They responded, "Because he is humble."

When the traveler returned and told this story, Rabbi Leibele's relatives laughed and said, "If he is not learned, from a great family, or wealthy, why shouldn't he be humble!" 

But when that retort made its way back to Kotzk, someone commented, "No—if he is not learned, wealthy, or from a great family, then the fact that he is humble is truly remarkable."

—Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Understanding the Tanya by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz=