Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Anything we say will be incomplete.”

There is a recurring prophecy in Tanakh – “every man will sit under his grapevine or under his fig tree” (Mic. 4:4) – that is meant to describe a condition of wealth and tranquility.

Yet there are many people today who, if promised a future in which all they do is sit under a tree, would be completely uninterested – they would rather attend a nightclub instead.

The prophecy tries to describe a future of wealth and harmony, but this can only be communicated using the range of concepts that people have.

We can make an effort to describe the future using the most beautiful words that exist, but my message will only be successful if it is couched in terms of what is presently meaningful to our audience.

When we have to transcend these bounds, anything we say will be incomplete.

We are unable to describe things that are not within the range of the human imagination; even if we are able to comprehend these things, the concepts turn out to be meaningless without the proper tools of expression.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz