Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “A false dilemma.”

It may be surprising, but just as there is an evil inclination to falsehood, the desire to constantly adhere to the truth can be a type of evil inclination as well, one that at times is much worse than the inclination to falsehood.

Indeed, it turns out that a person can experience a spiritual fall not only by pursuing things that are overtly evil, but also by going to the other extreme.

There is a certain appeal to the notion that one must make an unequivocal decision to either be entirely good or entirely evil, but one must realize that this is a false dilemma:

Neither of these choices is the proper path.

It is much more difficult to withstand this type of evil inclination than to withstand an ordinary evil inclination, not because being entirely good is an inherently undesirable thing – on the contrary, in an ideal world this approach would be recommended – but because it sets an unreasonable standard by which to live.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz