Catriel Lev's Blog: VeHaShalom VeHaEmmet

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Catriel Lev
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Jun 11, 2010

A Kotsker Rebbe Quote

The Kotsker Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk, 1787-1859) is known for his Middat HaEmmet (attribute of truth, i.e., getting to the core of the truth of a topic). I apologize in advance to those who cannot follow the Hebrew, or all of the Jewish prayer references, but  I may not manage to make this clear in English.

The Kotsker Rebbe is reputed to have said:

In the introductory prayer said by some before the regular morning prayers, which is usually read:
לעולם יהא אדם ירא שמים, בסתר ובגלוי, ומודה על האמת
(which translates to: Always should a person be Heaven-fearing, privately and publicly, and acknowledging the truth),
we should actually punctuate it differently and read:
לעולם יהא אדם; ירא שמים, בסתר ובגלוי, ומודה על האמת!

And we should interpret it as "cutting to chase" of our Middot (behavior attributes) and telling us:
Always, BE A MENTSCH. [And then,] Heaven-fearing etc. [will come naturally to you. But, first of all, be a Mentsch, because without that the other attributes cannot be true]!

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