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 out instruments. And so [the Kotzker] went trying to find a number of surging humans and referred to 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, used to be no longer easily an act of adopting a approach of ideals and sure modes of behavior; attempt and trial have been wanted, and one needed to ensure via introspection even if one’s ideals have been real or now not, and no matter if one acted out fact or lived a lifetime of pretense....
Kierkegaard made it his job “to reintroduce Christianity into Christendom.” The Kotzker sought to reintroduce authenticity to Jewish lifestyles. Kierkegaard’s posthumous influence has been strong. yet has the Kotzker affected Jewish self-understanding?
―from A ardour for Truth
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Additional resources for A passion for truth
The verse refers to the war against the enemy within. It can be waged only if you "go forth" from the self-that is, if you leave yourself behind. Good and Evil Classical Hasidism maintained that the right way to depart from evil was to be involved in the Holy, to do good. Do not fight evil directly; bypass it. The Psalmist's inj unction, "Depart from evil and do good" (34: 1 5 ) really means : by doing good you will depart from evil. Be involved in what is good; turning away from evil will follow.
Even in the synagogue they were moved to tears only while reciting the prayers for a livelihood. Yet they dared to dream of the luxuries to be enjoyed in the life to come. Their conceptions of Heaven were a travesty, a distortion. They devoured large portions of a�lwmen 2 and took pleasure in their own righteousness! They talked about the Messiah-but their lips were not worthy of even uttering His name. When they performed good deeds, they thought they were doing the Al mighty a favor. The criticism applied not only to simple folk.
As Reb Shlomo of Karlin said, this is the way of teshuvah, of returning to God : turn away from evil by doing good. The Kotzker did not believe that evil could be subdued so easily, so indirectly, by skirting it. Evil was a fierce enemy, stub born and mighty. One must fight it boldly, head on. He said to his Hasidim : "First you must learn to hate evil and begin by turning away from it. " 40 A PAssIo N F o n TnuTH In Mezbizh the road to virtue was wide and open. The good could come to pass anywhere at any time.
A passion for truth 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