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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Why?”

One of the great hasidic rabbis (who was the rabbi of a small town in his youth and would often volunteer to serve as a merrymaker at weddings) would say that the essence of Hasidism is that one must constantly be asking, “Why?” about everything that one encounters in life.

That is the way his life went, he said. One day, when he went to perform the ritual washing of the hands, this question of “Why?” occurred to him.

He began to reflect on the ritual and stood there, towel on his shoulder, for two hours.

He said that afterward, whenever he recited the blessing on the ritual, his level of devotion was higher than ever.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz