the wisdom of Rav Adin Steinsaltz

"...On the other hand, I would like to see Jewish women participating in things Jewish, participating because there is a lot in which to participate. Wherever there is interest on the part of Jewish women in Judaism, they will take a greater role. If a person is knowledgeable, that person, whether man or woman, will be a leader in Jewish life. If women are really interested in Jewish things, they can participate actively, not by getting what you call “rights,” but by getting whatever fulfillment they can. Those who will be interested will be the center, will be where Jewish life is."

and more:

"There is surely a lot that is boring. I don’t have the opportunity in Israel, but I listen here in America to numbers of sermons delivered by rabbis, and I find that there is a lot that is boring, at least about Judaism. However, I am not speaking only about religion. There are a lot of things that are boring. Doing things because they have “always” been done “that way” is boring. Listening and not participating is boring. And this is the danger for religion, especially in America, where people are becoming only listeners and passive participants. The way out of boredom is to participate. Participation doesn’t mean being a member of a group that holds brunches on Sunday mornings. Participation means being a part of what I would call the adventure of study, the adventure of prayer, the adventure of fulfilling any mitzvah. Thus, the way to participate is to get more involved personally, to try as much as possible to become part of things, and to ask every day, as once young people were asked in the cheder, “What new thing did you find out today?” That is what is called Chidush-Torah, the renewal of Torah.

I would say, therefore, that the function of a rabbi should be to call to his community and to ask each of them, what new thing did you find out about being Jewish. This is what we have to do in order to avoid being bored. We cannot be bored when we are participating, when we are part of the creative. Then we are a part of the Torah."

and more:

"...So this is the reason for the baale teshuvah movement in this country and in Israel. It is not yet an earnest movement because it doesn’t touch the people who count. It is still a fringe movement here and in Israel. I would like to see first-rate people join the movement, people who continue growing within the Jewish framework. In many of the baale teshuvah yeshivot, to my great sorrow, it seems that some students are somehow cut in half. They are no longer growing as personalities because somehow they become perhaps too interested only in being Jewish, and I would like our people to be bigger, bigger as personalities. I think that the baale teshuvah yeshivot are not yet successful in growing this type of person. It’s a pity. I hope it will change in the future, and I hope more people, and more significant people, will make this change. "


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