Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “I never hiked the Himalayas. I never went to the moon.”

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov once told his disciples that he wants “Chasidim and disciples of a higher level.”

His students were puzzled.

They could not understand what their Rabbi meant exactly.

They thought that the Rabbi was referring to a lofty and esoteric level.

Finally, Rabbi Nachman explained to them: 

“I want my disciples to be more rich, more studious, more doers.”

This is also my goal.

I also want my students to be more rich, more studious, more doers.

Perhaps not in all three categories, but at least in one of them. 

I ask you: a year has gone by; was I successful in creating such students?

Someone asked me to share with you some of my life memories.

Truth be told – I have nothing exciting to tell you.

I never hiked the Himalayas.

I never went to the moon.

I never killed a lion, although, I did manage to get hold of a lion’s skin, at the age of ten-years-old, to compare my hair-color to his.

To my fascination, it was identical!

But after seventy five years, this is the real memory I hope to take with me, in this world and in the next:

I want to create memories in forms of people who are pleasant-looking.

Not externally, but internally.

People of character and of action, in whom I can take pride in, as stated in the verse: “Israel, in whom I take glory” (Isaiah 49:3).

A ninety-four year old friend gave me today an 18-year-old whiskey in honor of my birthday.

The real gift, for which I am truly thankful, was the mere fact that he came to see me at such an age.

But if you want to give me a birthday gift, I plead you, make something of yourselves.

Be more. Do more. Become more.

Let the fire of G-d burn within you.

And strive to grow into beings of “glory before G-d” and beings of “glory before others,” (Ethics of our Fathers, Chapter 2:1).

-Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz