Inspiring and thought-provoking words from some of history’s greatest.
Where is God found? Wherever you let Him in.
– Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, the Kotzker Rebbe
Figure out what you’re willing to die for. Then live for it.
– Rabbi Noach Weinberg
God transforms spirituality into physicality; the Jew makes physical things spiritual.
– Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov
If you wait until you find the meaning of life, will there be enough life left to live meaningfully?
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe
A person’s main vitality lies in his intellect. One who is not using his intellect to its full potential is considered asleep. Many people who seem to be alive are in fact sleeping their lives away.
– Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Six million of us were murdered in the Holocaust. But instead of disappearing, we decided that after 2,000 years of exile, it would be better to go home and rebuild our own country. And so we did. What took other nations hundreds and hundreds of years to build, we did in only a few. What was possible we did very quickly, and what was impossible took us just a bit longer.
– Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo
As long as Orthodoxy maintains stubbornly: “No, we shall concern ourselves only with the study of Talmud and the legal codes, but not with aggadah, not ethics, not Kabbalah, not scientific research, not the knowledge of the world, and not Chassidism,” it impoverishes itself. And against this I shall continue to wage battle.
The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.
– Werner Heisenberg, Nobel-prize winning physicist
Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise Physician gives because we need them; and the proportions, the frequency, and weight of them, to what the case requires. Let us trust His skill and thank Him for the prescription.
– Isaac Newton
Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people’s souls, when we all ought to be worried about our own souls, and other people’s bellies.
– Rabbi Israel Salanter
If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning, are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all ages: and has done it with his hands tied behind him.
The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished… All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
– Mark Twain
… I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of another sect… I should still believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate for all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization… They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more, and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.
– John Adams, second president of the United States, in a letter to F.A. Van Der Kemp, 16 February 1809
From religion comes a man’s purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hand are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.
– William Bragg, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know it exists.
– Nikola Tesla
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.
– Max Planck, “father of quantum physics”
I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.
The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.
– Nikola Tesla
The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
– J.M Barrie
I no longer see a table, a chair, a lamp… only the letters of the Divine Utterances.
– Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, in a letter to his grandson shortly before his passing, Tevet 24, 5583 (1812).