Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Judaism And Genealogy

To search for roots, even in the simplest genealogical sense, is likely to be a meaningful experience on both the personal and religious levels. But it is important to pursue it even if the meaning is elusive. Lineage is not just a matter of empty self-congratulation. All lineage, and not just that of nobility, carries with it a certain responsibility. A great person discovered among one's ancestors is not just the cause for bragging but something that must be related to and learned from. The sense of kinship with such a figure can be a source of strength and encouragement to one suffering spiritual distress or self-doubt. It need not be a famous or distinguished figure; even a person - remembered or reconstructed - who was at one with himself and with the world can serve as an anchor point and source of commitment.

(Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz)