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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The human capacity to create symbols.”

Man is not the creature that feels, he is that which talks.

It is the human capacity to create symbols that seems to be his highest achievement, even though signs and symbols may be considered abstract and lifeless ideational forms.

In any case they are not full of movement and life, like feelings.

Still, symbols do belong to a higher mode of consciousness, to the same power as speech.

Infants certainly feel strongly, long before they can talk.

That is, speech belongs to a higher category than emotion.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz