Spiritual Teaching from the Jewish Tradition
"Do not exalt any path above God. There are many paths that lead to God.
So people are capable of finding and following the ways that suit them,
provided they do not stand still." Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
The rabbi of Kotzk said: “It is written: ‘The ordinances of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether.’ In this world you see one ordinance decreed for one man, and an apparently contradictory ordinance for another, and you are astonished and cannot understand how both can be righteous. But in the coming world you will see them all together and you will find them altogether righteous.”
To What Purpose Was Man Created?
Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk once asked his disciple Rabbi Yaakov of Radzimin: “Yaakov, to what purpose was man created?” He answered: “So that he might perfect his soul.” “Yaakov,” said the zaddik, “is that what we learned from our teacher, Rabbi Bunam? No, indeed! Man was created so that he might lift up the Heavens.”
The Ladder Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk said to his disciples:
“The souls descended from the realms of Heaven to earth on a ladder. Then it was taken away. Now up there they are calling the souls home. Some do not budge from the spot, for how can one get to Heaven without a ladder? Others leap and fall, and leap again and give up. But there are those who know very well that they cannot make it, but try and try over and over again until God catches hold of them and pulls them up.”
“Where is the dwelling of God?” This was the question with which the rabbi of Kotzk surprised a number of learned men who happened to be visiting him. They laughed at him: “What a thing to ask! Is not the whole world full of his glory!” Then he answered his own question: “God dwells wherever man lets him in.” Fathers and Sons A man came to the rabbi of Kotzk and complained of his sons who refused to support him, though he was old and no longer able to earn his own livelihood. “I was always ready to do anything at all for them,” he said, “and now they won’t have anything to do with me.” Silently the rabbi raised his eyes to Heaven. “That’s how it is,” he said softly. “The father shares in the sorrow of his sons, but the sons do not share in the sorrow of their father.”