Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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God is only where you let Him in.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, (1787 - 27 January 1859) more commonly referred to as the Kotzker Rebbe, was a Hasidic leader, well known for his incisive and down-to-earth philosophies, and sharp-witted sayings. He appears to have had little patience for false piety or stupidity.

Quotes[edit]

If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you!
First, a man is created in his own image, and only afterwards in the image of God.
Do not be satisfied with the speech of your lips and the thought in your heart… rather you must arise and do!
  • Do not be satisfied with the speech of your lips and the thought in your heart, all the promises and good sayings in your mouth, and all the good thoughts in your heart; rather you must arise and do!
    • As quoted in 'T'he Season of the Witch : Le Couer Dechire (2008) by Etienne De Mendes, p. 545
  • When a man makes a reverent face before a face that is no face — that is idol worship!
    • As quoted in Tales of the Hasidim : The Later Masters (1948) by Martin Buber as translated by Olga Marx
  • If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you!
    • As quoted in Tales of the Hasidim : The Later Masters (1948) by Martin Buber as translated by Olga Marx
    • Variant translations:
    • If I am I, simply because I am I, and thou art thou, simply because thou art thou; then I am I and thou art thou. But if I am I because thou art thou, and thou art thou because I am I, then I am not I and thou art not thou.
      • As quoted in The Rift in Israel: Religious Authority and Secular Democracy (1971) by Samuel Clement Leslie, p. 145
    • If I am I, because you are you, and you are you, because I am I, then I am not I, and you are not you. But if I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you, and we can talk.
      • As quoted in Let Us Reason Together (1970) by William Berkowitz and William Leonard Laurence
  • Everything must be done Lesheim Shamayim (for the sake of Heaven), even [actions done] Lesheim Shamayim.
  • God is only where you let Him in.
    • As quoted in Innerspace : Introduction to Kabbalah, Meditation and Prophecy‎ (1990), by Aryeh Kaplan, p. 160; This expression is said to have originated when he was five years old and asked his father "Where is God?" to which his father answered: "God is everywhere!" Rebbe then responded "No, I think God is only where you let Him in."
    • Variants:
    • Where is God to be found? In the place where He is given entry.
      • As quoted in The Sayings of Menahem Mendel of Kotsk (1995) by Simcha Raz and Edward Levin, p. 10
    • God is where you let Him in.
      • As quoted in Everyday Kabbalah: A Practical Guide to Jewish Meditation, Healing, and Personal Growth (1998)
  • First, a man is created in his own image, and only afterwards in the image of God.
    • As quoted in Leaping Souls : Rabbi Menachem Mendel And The Spirit Of Kotzk (1993) by Chaim Feinberg
    • Variant translation: Man must "guard himself and his uniqueness, and not imitate his fellow ... for initially man was created in his own image', and only afterwards in the image of God.
  • All that is thought should not be said, all that is said should not be written, all that is written should not be published, and all that is published should not be read.
    • As quoted in Triumph of Survival : The Story of the Jews in the Modern Era 1650-1995‎ (1993) by Berel Wein, p. 96
  • People are accustomed to look at the heavens and to wonder what happens there. It would be better if they would look within themselves, to see what happens there.
    • As quoted in The Big Little Book of Jewish Wit & Wisdom‎ (2000) by Sally Ann Berk, p. 73

External links[edit]

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