Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Sadness should not arise spontaneously.”

Prayer books of earlier times used to instruct, “Here one weeps.”

People’s difficult circumstances and bitter lives always provided sufficient reason for tears, but a person could not cry constantly.

And so at certain points in prayer, permission was given; at those points, people would weep copiously.

Sadness should not arise spontaneously, at the times that are convenient for one’s evil inclination, but it should be summoned when we desire it.

—Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz