Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The degree of effort required.”

“It is not possible objectively to compare men in terms of their transgressions, because this is not the correct gauge of worth.

One should compare them on the basis of the degree of effort required to overcome temptation.

What for one person is a terrible temptation, on account of his personality or history, is for another of no import whatsoever.

For a gambler, playing cards has a different weight than for someone who has never played.

Thus, it is always easier to tell someone else to overcome any wrong impulse.

The question is whether I myself can do as much even if I am a very righteous person.

And it is not necessarily a matter of correcting conspicuously appalling sin, but rather of the ordinary virtuous man’s capacity to flee from the passionate urges of his own heart, to avoid the evils of slander and other seemingly trivial modes of behavior like thoughtless speech or careless dealing in money transactions.”

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz