The Promise

A choice tells the world what is most important to a human being. When a man has a choice to make he chooses what is most important to him, and that choice tells the world what kind of a man he is.

A man must be forced to choose. It is only when you are forced to choose that you know what is important to you.

A man must sometimes be forced to make choices, for it is only by his choices that we know what a man truly is.

He's not asking me to make a choice. He's telling me to take a stand. I'm either with him or against him. All or nothing. I'm disgusted with the whole business. I don't want smicha if the price I have to pay for it is to stop thinking.

How do I convince him that the way we study Talmud is not a threat?'

'But it is a threat, Reuven. I just told you it is a threat. In the hands of those who do not love the tradition it is a dangerous weapon.'

'Everything is dangerous in the wrong hands. How do I convince him that we're not a threat?

If everybody who had brains and doubts left Orthodoxy, we would be in a great deal of trouble.

I held it close to my face and smelled the ink. I have always loved the smell of ink in a new book.

It is strange how ideas can float about and be ignored until they are put into a book. A book can be a weapon...

It's always easier to learn something than to use what you've learned.

It's always easier to learn something than to use what you've learned. . . . You're alone when you're learning. But you always use it on other people. It's different when there are other people involved.

It's my world, best friend. And I haven't seen anything outside that's better.

It's only a book. But what it means to write a book.

One derives great moral strength from a cup of coffee," I said.

Perhaps. But it is childish to think of what might have been.

Take care of your father," he said. "There aren't many people like him around anymore.

There are times when those who fear God make themselves very unpleasant as human beings.

They become angry and ugly and they fight anything that's a threat to them. We have to learn how to fight back without hurting them too much.

We become like dead branches and last year's leaves and what the hell good are we for ourselves and the world in a mental ghetto.

We will have many fights. But they will be for the sake of Torah.

When the alternative is possible disaster, a man must gamble.

Williamsburg was stifling, narcotized by the heat.

You don't want to make mistakes with people. Sometimes when you make a mistake you lose a human soul.