Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: The ‘important’ mitzvot are not always decisive.”

The question of the balance between merits and demerits is of little significance.

Even when the year’s balance tips to the side of merit, the more profound and fundamental question still remains.

In light of the year that has passed, is it worthwhile to continue bearing such an existence for another year?

When it comes to the question of our very existence, there are victories that are equivalent to losses and losses equivalent to victories.

Merits and demerits are not measured only by a reckoning of their quantity, but also according to their qualitative weight and in consideration of the connection between them and life as a whole.

When Maimonides describes God’s judgment regarding those inscribed for life or for death, he observes that we cannot always determine who is worthy and who is unworthy, nor can we know the nature and value of various deeds.

 The “important” mitzvot are not always decisive, and we do not know which are the truly fateful transgressions.

God’s reckoning is no doubt more complex and is surely connected to the question of essential value:

What is the relation between various deeds and the person’s essential nature?

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz