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Rav Steinsaltz on the purpose of Jewish life

צילום: ידידיה מאיר

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

How did he manage to do so much? Rav Adin Steinsaltz, Israel Prize recipient, commentator on the Talmud and Rambam, who stood at the head of so many educational projects, passed away on Friday at the age of 83. We are amazed at the astonishing scope of his work. Here are a few words he wrote at the age of 20 that perhaps will shed some light on what drove him, words that can be of benefit to us as well:

"The ideal goal in life both as a human being and as a Jew is to live it completely. That is, not to prepare when young for life as if life only comes later, and so waste and minimize life during those years, and not to be regretful in old age that life is already over, but rather to live life every moment to its fullest, to live in the present.
"Jewish life is life with a purpose. To perfect the body, to perfect the soul, to perfect the world. And all this can be done thanks to the ever-present link that attaches us to Godliness. The array of positive mitzvot teaches that no moment exists outside of this link and this purpose, and that the more we learn the better we know how to live and refuse to make do with dreams of what life should be like. Therefore at every age and in every place and situation we have this task,and so we should live all of our years, days, and moments in this manner, lives full of substance and authenticity."

In his memory.


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