Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"If anything is clear, it is that a rigid, unchanging way is wrong"

"What the Jewish sages recommend is not only a middle way, it is a rejection of extremes in terms of a clear knowledge of how to keep everything, including the extreme, in its proper place.

Consequently, in general, there are no preconceptions about what is the correct con­duct for all situations, since the correctness of a way of being is itself only measurable in terms of a specific set of circumstances that may or may not recur.

There is therefore no possibility of fixing a single standard of behavior.

If anything is clear, it is that a rigid, unchanging way is wrong.

Further­more, this principle of movement, of constant change, is the principle manifested by the soul itself in its life on earth.

To be sure, a person needs a special teacher or a great deal of guidance in order to be able always to find the right measure; usually choosing the correct way grows out of the soul's continual oscillation from one extreme to another.

This pendulum swing of experience brings about a certain synthesis somewhere in the middle — al­though too often it is an artificial middle, merely halfway between good and evil and neither one nor the other."

--Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz