Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “One must be simultaneously extremely old and yet, in a sense, completely infantile.”

Every person, in one respect or another, draws close to God, and one must always remember that even though he may know what goes on behind the scenes, he must not lose the feeling of respect and awesome reverence;.

He must not feel that he is exempt from the duty of keeping his distance.

This is certainly one of the most difficult requirements to fulfill.

After one has already grown accustomed to being inside the Sanctuary, the true test is if one can still retain the attitude of an outsider, for whom the Sanctuary is still on a different plane.

Is one capable of being on both sides simultaneously – to be inside, and nevertheless to feel like an outsider who has entered for the first time, knowing nothing of the experience?

There is a perpetual partition between the sacred and the profane, between the awesome and the ordinary.

For the Priest, this partition is not smaller, but it is more difficult for him to abide by.

This tension exists in numerous diverse areas, all of which present the test of the priesthood:

To what degree can one stand very close and yet remain in a state of awe and reverence, dread and trembling?

To straddle both sides simultaneously is nearly impossible;.

It is certainly one of the most difficult things that a person can do – yet that is what is required of a Jew.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov comments that in order to achieve this, one must be simultaneously extremely old and yet, in a sense, completely infantile.

This requirement is against human nature, but nevertheless, as Jews we are called upon to do just this.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz