The major Jewish dietary laws rest on a single premise: Eating meat is a moral compromise. There is a difference between eating a hamburger and eating a bowl of cereal. For one of them, a living creature had to be killed. Should we ever become so casual about the eating of meat that we lose sight of that distinction, a part of our humanity will have shriveled and died.
I no longer ask the young man’s question: How far will I go? My questions are now those of the mature person: When it is over, what will my life have been about? First as Martin Buber taught, life is meeting. We come alive only when we relate to others. Secondly, we are here to change the world with small acts of thoughtfulness done daily rather than with one great dramatic leap in results. Finally, we are here to finish god’s labors. One of the sages of the Talmud taught nearly two thousand years ago that God could have created a plant that would grow loaves of bread. Instead He created wheat for us to mill and bake into bread. Why? So that we could be His partners in completing the work of creation.
Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted—a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.
When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.
Topics: Kindness, Bravery
Fun can be the dessert of our lives but never its main course.
Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.
The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people’s lives that you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.
Topics: Live, Action, Defeat, Time, Win, Purpose, Life, People
It is tempting at one level to believe that bad things happen to people (especially other people) because God is a righteous judge who gives them exactly what they deserve. By believing that we keep the world orderly and understandable…. But [this belief] has a number of serious limitations…. It teaches people to blame themselves. It creates guilt when there is no basis for guilt. And most disturbing of all, it does not even fit the facts.
In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.
Topics: Action, Attitude
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Hyman Judah Schachtel American Jewish Religious Leader
- Abraham Joshua Heschel American Jewish Rabbi
- Stephen Samuel Wise American Jewish Rabbi
- Nachman of Breslov Ukrainian Jewish Religions Leader
- Abraham Isaac Kook Latvian-born Jewish Rabbi
- Billy Graham American Baptist Religious Leader
- Thomas S. Monson American Mormon Religious Leader
- Richard G. Scott American Mormon Religious Leader
- Mary Manin Morrissey American Christian Religious Leader
- Martin Luther German Protestant Theologian