Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “A sort of inner debate.”

In every person, there is a sort of inner debate as to whether he would prefer great excitement or calm and tranquility.

There is a side, even in one’s spiritual life, that despises the sense that nothing is happening, feeling bored and unstimulated.

But the opposite side also exists, the aspect of “Jacob wished to live in tranquility” (Genesis Rabba 84:3).

Jacob was not interested in unusual or dramatic events; he did not want to pursue romance or other developments.

He wanted to settle down quietly for as long as his circumstances would permit.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov uses similar categories to describe two forms of worship:

There is calm, tranquil worship, generally characteristic of people who feel settled in society; and there is also ecstatic, frenzied worship, characteristic of people who do not feel settled in society.

It is worth noting that the first form of worship is not limited to laypeople – to balebatim – and the latter form of worship is not limited to yeshiva students.

How one approaches his relationship with God does not depend on what he does during the day, as many believe, but on something more personal, more innate.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From Talks on the Parasha