What Keeps Rabbi Niles Goldstein Up at Night?

A profound fear of his own mortality.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What keeps you up at night? 

Rabbi Niles Goldstein: I think what keeps me up at night is the same thing that keeps me alive during the day and is probably the same thing that has made me the very driven and intense Rabbi and author and teacher that I am, and martial artist. A very deep fear of death; a very profound realization of my own mortality. And I think knowing that I am going to one day have to shed this mortal coil is something that, on the one hand, fills me with fear and trembling but on the other hand motivates me to act and motivates me to produce and motivates me and inspires me to help make this world a better place and that impact. So I think the fear of death and the love of life are really just two sides of the same coin. So it's not just what keeps me up at night, and it does, but it's also what helps me to get out of bed in the morning. And I think it's a terrific question and I think that would be my heartfelt answer. And that fear of life and love of death are at their core, I think, what religions in general are meant to help us address, confront, and ultimately surmount. And I know if that weren't the case, I would do it to some other location tomorrow.

Recorded on March 15, 2010