"The nature of the dilemma can be stated in a three-word sentence: I am lonely. Let me emphasize, however, that by stating "I am lonely" I do not intend to convey to you that I am alone. I, thank God, do enjoy the love and friendship of many. I meet people, talk, preach, argue, reason; I am surrounded by comrades and acquaintances. And yet, companionship and friendship do not alleviate the passional experience of loneliness which trails me constantly. I am lonely because at times I feel rejected and thrust away by everybody, not excluding my most intimate friends, and the words of the Psalmist, "My father and my mother have forsaken me," ring quite often in my ears like the plaintive cooing of the turtledove. It is a strange, alas, absurd experience engendering sharp, enervating pain as well as a stimulating, cathartic feeling."
In our Rosh Hashana prayers we declare hayom harat olam, today is the birthday of the world, marking the creation of humankind. In this book, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik provides a window into how the first chapters of the Torah communicate basic motifs for understanding the human spirit, and our place within the cosmos as human beings and as Jews.
Please read the essay in advance of the discussions. It can be found online here, or as a published book.
Chapter 4 - Man As Animal and the Emergence of the Ethical Norm