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 couple 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 no longer 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 process of ideals and sure modes of behavior; try and trial have been wanted, and one needed to be sure via introspection even if one’s ideals have been real or no longer, and even if one acted out fact or lived a lifetime of pretense....
Kierkegaard made it his activity “to reintroduce Christianity into Christendom.” The Kotzker sought to reintroduce authenticity to Jewish existence. Kierkegaard’s posthumous impression has been robust. yet has the Kotzker affected Jewish self-understanding?
―from A ardour for Truth
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Extra resources for A passion for truth
The passionate indignation of the Prophets carne back to life in the Kotzker. Classical Hasidism tried to reach all Jews. The Kotzker was interested only in the select, the few. He inscribed one word on his banner : Emeth, Truth. To achieve Truth he was ready to sacrifice everything else. Worst of all were the imitations of Truth-the closer to the original, the worse. The way to Truth was a tortuous one. For its sake one must do away with habit, with emotional bias, and with all kinds of outward appearances, even those hallowed over the generations.
Wherever there is turmoil, a crowd, you find them. They talk and are counted among the living. They have the attributes of bodies but are Reshless ghosts. They do business and go to con ferences. They take sea voyages, trade, make and lose money, never realizing that they are living in a world of phantoms. They do not understand that their buying and selling means nothing, that they neither make profits nor sustain losses, for there is no substance to all their comings and goings. THE Two TEACHERS 23 For thousands of years these homeless souls hover about in the whirligig of their lives, until just one human being recog nizes and stops them, sending them to their final rest.
He was named Bunam's successor and lived first in Tomashov and then in Kotzk. He died in 1 8 59, at the age of seventy-two. Hasidism was a great drama enacted on the stage of East Euro pean Jewish life, and the Kotzker played a crucial role in it. It is my view that the movement called into being by Reb Israel Baal Shem Tov, the Besht, reached both its climax and its anti thesis in Reb Menahem Mendl of Kotzk. The Kotzker brought about a revolution within Hasidism. While Mezbizh emphasized love, joy, and compassion for this world, Kotzk demanded con stant tension and unmitigated militancy in combating this-world liness.
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