By Menahem Mendel, of Kotsk, 1787-1859., Menahem Mendel, of Kotsk, 1787-1859; Heschel, Abraham Joshua; Baʻal Shem Ṭov, approximately 1700-1760., Baʻal Shem Ṭov, approximately 1700-1760; Kierkegaard, Søren
It is relatively effortless to evangelise pleasure and fervor, yet to call for fact is like shaping marble with no instruments. And so [the Kotzker] went trying to find a number of surging humans and known as loudly upon their souls to bend their conceit and spot the reality underneath the soil....
This used to be now not a philosophical inquiry into the character of fact yet a scrutiny of men’s lives in relation to fact. faith, the Kotzker maintained, was once now not easily an act of adopting a method of ideals and likely modes of behavior; try out and trial have been wanted, and one needed to ensure via introspection no matter if one’s ideals have been real or now not, and even if one acted out fact or lived a lifetime of pretense....
Kierkegaard made it his activity “to reintroduce Christianity into Christendom.” The Kotzker sought to reintroduce authenticity to Jewish lifestyles. Kierkegaard’s posthumous impression has been robust. yet has the Kotzker affected Jewish self-understanding?
―from A ardour for Truth
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It is hardly possible to revere Him and at the same time despise His creation. This, then, determines the outcome of our groping : either to love or to hate, to revere or resent, the world, people, things. Man must cherish the world, said the Baal Shem. To depre cate, to deride it was presumption. Creation, all of creation, was pervaded with dignity and purpose and embodied God's meaning. " The Baal Shem's interpretation of these words was as follows : the verse needed to be divided into two parts, the assertion of Ecclesiastes that all was vanity and its sharp refuta tion.
It twists and distorts the basis of a man's THE Two TEACHERS 21 life, deceiving him into believing he lives in a reality that does not exist. A person living a lie and taking it to be the Truth moves in a world of self-delusion. Falsehood is not just a stigma that sullies man's thinking. A healthy life consists in knowing what one wants, seeing an ultimate goal ahead, and hoping to reach it by means of clearly understood actions. And mendacity is a disease that binds a man's entire existence. As a result of it, our perceptions are false.
Genuine solitude is the prelude to a new community. How ever, if you do not withdraw but remain part of "the world," your supreme effort must be not to deceive yourself. Clearly one of man's strongest inclinations is to deceive himself. People do not know whether they are alive and where they are. The world abounds in misrepresentation-lives without design, movement without aim, roofs without walls. They think they dance, yet they are paralyzed. Delusion holds them enraptured. They feel so comfortable in the clutches of their self-deception that when Satan himself embraces them, they think he is in love with them.