Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The religious person cannot rely on his inner strengths and drives.”

In a certain sense, the need for the decision to accept the heavenly yoke stems from the very idea of a mitzva – the performance of a higher law that man cannot totally identify with or comprehend.

By definition, if the commandments are completely divine, they cannot possibly be also completely human.

The believer cannot expect performance of mitzvot to flow only from within, for he himself believes that their source is above and beyond him.

Accordingly, the religious person cannot rely on his inner strengths and drives.

He must construct and develop a unique orientation toward his religious life to prepare himself for the performance of certain acts.

It is necessary for him to bring himself to the performance of the commandments at the right time and place.

He must arouse within himself empathy with the observance of the mitzvot, both as a totality and as individual acts on each particular occasion.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz