Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The desire to reach God.”

The contemplation and study that bring a person to religious consciousness, to the desire to draw near to God, are not of one kind.

Some people come to it through contemplation of God’s greatness as revealed in the world He created, through recognition and contemplation of God’s works and His overflowing light and goodness.

They attain an inner state of excitement and enthusiasm, which leads to fuller consciousness of the will to draw near to God.

Others come to it through reflection on Jewish destiny and on the Jewish People’s special nature, through appreciation of God’s mercy on us, which has accompanied us constantly ever since the Exodus.

There is yet another way – a person may attain the desire for God through himself, through contemplation of his own life and being.

“From my flesh I behold God”- – through my very life and emotions I realize that God is behind them.

This is the thought underlying the concept “For He is your life”– the true heartfelt awareness that God is the essence of life, and that He is the source of life, not only of the whole world but also of my very being.

This feeling corresponds to the Zohar’s interpretation of man’s call to God, “My soul, I yearn for You in the night:”

You, Who are truly my soul, my being, the true source of my life – You I desire, for You I long in the night, in the darkness and concealment of existence.

All these thoughts awaken and reveal the desire to reach God, to draw near to Him, to be always with Him.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz