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The Kotzker Rebbe: Brief but deep

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

These days we are supposed to speak with brevity and wit. This was the style of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, who passed away 163 years ago today. He was a leader who was known for his sharp, profound witticisms. Long before tweets, he was adept at delivering his messages in highly compact form. Here are some of his pearls which prove that you can be both brief and deep:

  • "Silence is the most beautiful sound".
  • "Everything in the universe can be imitated except the truth, since a copy of the truth is no longer truth".
  • "Where is God to be found? Wherever you let him in".
  • "I would not want to worship a God whose ways are understood by the mind of mere mortals".
  • "I want my students not to sin, not because sinning is forbidden, but simply because they won't have time to sin."
  • "Sinning is not about the sin itself, but about the lack of belief in self-rectification and teshuvah after the sin occurs - which is the greatest sin of all."
  • "Nothing is more whole than a broken heart".

In his memory.


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