Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin:
We humans chase all over the world to find things: we climb mountains, we descend to the nethermost depths of the sea, we trek to the wilderness and to the desert. There is one place where we neglect to search—our heart. But it is there that we will find God.
An oral story from the Jews of Libya as related by Esther Zagadon to Malka Cohen:
When a person is created he or she is tied to God with a string. If one sins, the string breaks. But if one repents during the days of awe, the angel Gabriel comes down and makes a knot in the string and ties it. One once again is tied to God. Because every Jew sins once in a while, his or her string becomes full of knots. But a string with many knots is shorter than one without knots. Repentance brings a person closer to God.
Avraham Kook, “On Knowledge and Originality,” Orot haKodesh, Jerusalem: 1964, in Hebrew Writers on Writing, edited by Peter Cole, San Antonio: 2008:
Insight attained on one’s own—this is the highest degree of spiritual elevation. That which is acquired by study is, after all, taken from outside, and pales in comparison with the thoughtful reflection in the depths of one’s soul. All that is learned in such a manner is only a kind of profound advice concerning how best to draw the most essential significance from what is hidden within the heart, deep within the soul.