Letter from a father to a son
Emmanuel Sonnenschein: My dear son Ignatz, you have left the safety of the house in which you were born in order to achieve you life’s goal: to become a judge. To create laws, as Moses did. To render justice, like King David. To exercise power from which the Almighty has barred us or, perhaps, protected us for thousands and thousands of years.
Ignatz Sonnenschein: You are entering a new world where you will certainly be successful because you have knowledge. Study has always been our religious duty as jews. Our exclusion from society has given us an ability to adapt to others and to sense connections between things that seem diverse. But if you feel you have power, you are mistaken. If you feel you have the right to put yourself ahead of others because you think you know more than they do, you are wrong. Never allow yourself to be driven into the sin of conceit. Conceit is the greatest of sins. The source of all other sins.
Adam Sors: Never give up your religion. Not for God. God is present in all religions. But if your life becomes a struggle for acceptance, you’ll always be unhappy. Religion may not be perfect, but it is a well-built boat that can stay balanced and carry you to the other shore. Our life is nothing but a boat adrift on water balanced by permanent uncertainty. About the people whom you will judge, know this; all they do is struggle to find a kind of security. They’re just people, like us. Therefore you mustn’t judge them on the basis of appearance or hearsay. Trust no one. Examine all things yourself. Do not join with power. Despise all rank. Do not be ostentatious with what is yours. Owning possessions and property ultimately comes to nothing. Possessions and property can be consumed by fire, swept away by flood, taken away by politics. Do not undertake what you do not know. This causes anxiety which makes you ill. Exercise discipline.
I think of you with all my love, your father.