From “After the Return” – P. 112
by Rabbi Mordechai Becher with Rabbi Moshe Newman
Rav Eliyahu Lopian is quoted as saying ‘Every person looks at himself as though he is on a tightrope; half the world is on the ground to his right and the other half on the ground to his left.” He continues, ‘Why a tightrope? Because there is only room for one.” Rav Lopian was describing a common human condition. People consider anyone ‘more religious” than themselves to be a fanatic, and anyone ‘less religious” tha themselves a heretic. Every individual believes that only he walks the tightrope of normalcy, while everyone else has fallen to one side or the other.
In fact, normalcy cannot easily be defined by objective criteria. What would be considered an inordinately long prayer to one person, for example, would be considered too short to another. An evaluation of an appropriate amount of time a person should devote to prayer depends on his reading ability, how well he understands the prayers, the length of his concentration span, and many other factors. When a person is acquainted with the norms and expectations of his peer group, and knows his own responsibilities and capabilities, he is better able to keep himself in balance.