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 referred to as loudly upon their souls to bend their conceit and notice 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 approach of ideals and likely modes of behavior; attempt and trial have been wanted, and one needed to make sure via introspection even if one’s ideals have been actual or no longer, 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 existence. Kierkegaard’s posthumous influence has been robust. yet has the Kotzker affected Jewish self-understanding?
―from A ardour for Truth
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Additional info for A passion for truth
Yet the Baal Shem saw that the study of Torah and the performance of good deeds engendered new predicaments. The solution turned out to be another problem. The Kotzker's intuition led him to the same realization. 3 First published in I 565. THE Two TEACHERS 45 Love or Truth Love and Truth are the two ways that lead the soul out of the inner jungle. Love offers an answer to the question of how to live. In Truth we find an answer to the question of how to think. This division, however, is dangerous and arbitrary.
The former began with grace, the latter with indignation. A light glowed in Mezbizh; a fire raged in Kotzk. The ancient fury of the Prophets, the wrath of the moralist chastisers of earlier ages, fell down again upon Jewry. The Kotzker cried out in the manner of Rehabeam, son of Solomon : "And now, whereas my father laid upon you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father chastised you with whips, and I will chastise you with scorpions" (I Kings 12: I I). The Kotzker was the Ecclesiastes of his age.
Then came the Baal Shem, who told the people how precious every man was to the heart of God. He explained by means of parables how God Himself, the Divine Presence, was to be found in everything and everybody. The preachers flayed; the Baal Shem Tov extolled. The Baal Shem's power of love, his feeling for the divine worth of each individual, his concern for the ordinary cares of THE Two TEACHERS 29 common folk, as if all were his equals-these qualities were miss ing in the Kotzker's attitude toward people.