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Monday, October 27, 2014

Lech Lecha: Go into yourself!

"God did not guide Abraham. He bewildered him; He completely mystified and confounded him. He told him to move on, to go forth "to the land which I will show you." Is the land to be found in the east or the west? No hint was disclosed to Abraham. God willed Abraham to guess, to find out intuitively, to somehow smell the fragrance of the land, to feel the pull that the land exerts, to be attracted to the land spontaneously, so that the heart was Abraham's compass and lodestar. If Abraham had been mistaken in his adventurous selection of the land, everything would have been lost; Abraham would not have been the charismatic chosen leader and patriarch."
R. Soloveitchik, Abraham's Journey, p. 74

"So it is too that in the eyes of the world it is dangerous to venture...and to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of oneself."
Søren Kierkegaard, Sickness unto Death, p. 52 (Lowrie edition)

 "You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must", then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse."
 Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, p. 16 (Norton edition)



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