Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “There is no need to teach a person that he must eat.”


There is a Yiddish song that essentially says: “Eating happens by itself, drinking happens by itself, but prayer does not happen by itself.”

There is no need to teach a person that he must eat, nor does one need to stimulate within himself the intention to eat, since he feels that on his own.

It is also possible for a person to feel this way regarding prayer.

On the other hand, there are situations where one suffers an illness or psychological condition in which the natural mechanism malfunctions.

In such instances, those individuals eat – similar to the way people pray – because they know they must eat, and because it is time to eat.

Indeed, this state is considered an illness, but at any rate it demonstrates that it is also possible to live like this, that living thus is also considered to have authentic intent and to be an experience that can motivate people to engage in everyday, life-sustaining activities, such as keeping the mitzvot and praying.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz