“If I Am I”- The Wisdom of Kotzk

Allow me to share some wisdom and a message:

Over 175 years ago, in a Polish town called Kotzk, there lived a great man by the name of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgenstern, known as the Kotzker Rebbe.

People from everywhere came to the town of Kotzk to meet the Kotzker Rebbe.  He was known for being a man of great wisdom, deed and many other fine attributes.  He was known most of all for his sharpness and devotion to truth.  Truth can hit you like a jug of ice-water down your back if you are not expecting it.  The truth can be uncomfortable but that doesn’t make it any less refreshing.

A man once traveled a great distance to meet the Rebbe of Kotzk hoping to find spiritual lift of sorts and he did, along with a heaping helping of truth.

When the traveler finally sat down to meet the Rebbe of Kotzk, he was surprised by the question he was asked  Rebbe: “For what reason did you travel here to Kotzk?”

The man shifted awkwardly in his chair and finally offered: “I came here to find God.”

The Kotzker Rebbe probed further: ” You came all the way to Kotzk? To Find God? You wasted your time.  God can be found anywhere and everywhere!  You could have stayed home and found God there!”

The baffled and surprised man felt a bit silly but understood he was being taught a lesson. He asked: “Tell me please, why do so many people come to see you then? Why do you have so many people coming to Kotzk?”

The Rebbe smiled and responded, “People come to Kotzk to find themselves!  I can help you with that.”

Having a successful, more enjoyable life goes hand in hand with determining your own identity.

The Rebbe of Kotzk is quoted as saying-

“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!”

If you want, you can define yourself by your Job, accomplishments, beliefs, nationality, religion, an experience or expectations but I think we are much more complicated than that.  I think we are better than that.

We are not being real with ourselves or others if we rely solely on external factors to define ourselves.  We would be denying the world of our great gifts if we only tried to please others and if we pretended to be something we are not.

Everyone has something to share.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself and share it with the world.  It is your gift to everyone else.

Maybe that’s why you’re here.




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