23 November 2010

"We can make a difference..."

...and we should do it"

The Ethics of Jewish Responsibility
Chief Rabbi, Professor Jonathan Sacks

Today we are witnessing a strange paradox. We are confronted daily by images of global disasters: terror, suicide bombers, damage to the environment, countries and continents affected by poverty and diseases, and natural disasters, tzunami, earthquakes. There is something natural - a basic instinct of empathy and sympathy - that makes us want to help when we see people suffering.

At the same time, often feels small and insignificant. What can we do to help? The impact can cause appears inadequate before the scale of these tragedies. There are six billion people today. What a difference an individual can do? We're just a wave in an ocean of humanity, dust on the surface of the infinite.

The story of the "ethics of responsibility" is a Jewish story for our time. Judaism began with Abraham, a single individual. And still the faith of one of the smallest peoples in the world. But Jews have always had an impact disproportionate to the numbers. Why?

The reason is the radical belief embedded in the heart of our faith, we can make a difference - and we should do it. G-d calls us to become His "partners in the work of Creation." The Judaism is not a faith that leads us to accept the world as it is. It is a faith that challenges us to make the world as it should be. It is a cry of protest against injustice and random cruelty of the world.

Some of the main ideas of Jewish ethics: tzedakah (social justice), chesed (acts of kindness), Darche Shalom (the ways of peace) Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying the Name of G-d), and the principle that; "all Jews are responsible for each other". We call Tikkun Olam - Repairing the World , we are called to mend the fractures in the world, one action at a time, one day at a time.

We tend to consider these ideas as something established as if they were self-evident, but are not. They are rooted in a singular vision of G-d, the universe and our place in it. Judaism maintains an extremely high dignity and importance of the individual - as opposed to the masses, the crowd, the nation, the empire. We do not believe that we are tainted by original sin, or that fate is entirely in the hands of Providence. G-d enables us, as a wise father trains his son to grow, develop and exercise responsibility. We are here to do a difference.

Torah really is, as it says in Deuteronomy, "his wisdom and understanding to the nations".

The ethics of responsibility is the key that gives access for fulfilling the life. In the end, what makes us feel fulfilled is not how much we earn, or what we have, but the feeling of having contributed something of value to the world. Simple things like engaging in acts of compassion and generosity, caring for the sick, comforting with the bereaved, offering hospitality to the lonely and helping those in need.

We hope that every act of kindness lights a candle of hope in a world often dark and dangerous.


peter said...

We're just a wave in an ocean of humanity,
Baba Kamma 113a. ?
The ethics of responsibility is the key that gives access for fulfilling the life
offering hospitality to the lonely and helping those in need.
Midrasch Talpioth, p. 255, Warsaw 1855 ?
reed this:
NAZARETH, Israel // Health officials in Israel are subjecting many female Ethiopian immigrants to a controversial long-term birth control drug in what Israeli women’s groups allege is a racist policy to reduce the number of black babies.
The contraceptive, known as Depo Provera, which is given by injection every three months, is considered by many doctors as a birth control method of last resort because of problems treating its side effects.About 90,000 Ethiopians have been brought to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has subsequently been questioned by some rabbis and is doubted by many ordinary Israelis.Ethiopians are reported to face widespread discrimination in jobs, housing and education and it recently emerged that their blood donations were routinely discarded.
“This is about reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor,” said Hedva Eyal, the author of the report by Woman to Woman, a feminist organisation based in Haifa, in northern Israel. “The unspoken policy is that only children who are white and Ashkenazi are wanted in Israel,” she said, referring to the term for European Jews who founded Israel and continue to dominate its institutions.

subu.ps said...

Truly inspirational !!

Isha Shiri said...

For you Peter,

As you can see, we are a nation, democratic and free to express our opinions. Racism, where not there? An Orthodox Jewish minority may be ignorant to the point of it!

I already told you that Orthodox Rabbis are a problem. But who are they to challenge the majority of Jews? The black Jews in Israel are there and ready, this is fact. The lack of employment, this is due to the fact that many still had tribal habits, but more young people are inserted in the same schools, universities and usually live as Israelis.

Peter, we are a young nation with many problems, but one of them is not the mass sterilization of women. This is absurd. All women in Israel can have access to any type of contraceptive.

Perhaps this group of women "wise" to wish that black women can have as many children (as they do Orthodox Jewish) and then require the Israel government to help to survive with dignity?

Last year I published article about the Ethiopian Jews, seeing the matter in (http://ishashiri.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-was-operation-solomon.html )

Do you believe that we are saved them from extermination in vain?

I understand that many people in the world do not understand my people, but only accuse us of bad things in the world, is not smart. Most of our actions are fair, but what to do when so many lies and half-truths are scattered throughout the world? - Unfortunately people have not changed.

It's sad, very sad. But it makes us, Jews, stronger in the fight for truth.

Isha Shiri said...


Watch this video and make sure it is true that black Jews are badly treated in my country.

Surviving Genocide, creating a life

Isha Shiri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fatiha said...

solo l'amore la pace la fratellanza il saperci generati dallo stesso padre e dalla stessa madre potrà aiutarci a sopravvivere a questo mondo ormai troppo violento. Dobbiamo guardare le cosa con gli occhi innocenti dei bambini.

francescbb@hotmail.es said...

interesante blog!!! me gusta!!



hamada said...

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحقيقة انا عرفت عنوان مدونتك من خلال تعليقك على احدى المدونات العربية .
انا استغربت من مرورك على المدونات العربية و كذلك تعليقك عليها و تقديم الاقتراحات ايضا .
يا ريت تفضلوا بعيد عننا احنا العرب .
و متدخليش المدونات العربية تانى .
و اخيرا
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
دا اذا كنت تعرفى يعنى ايه السلام

Sunshine & Baba said...

Really Love your writing. Watched the youtube you recommented and you have a point.

Love to read more from you and from your dear husband.

Thank you both for the nice words

Love and Peace from Sunshine & Baba

Rio said...

Hi Isha! Nice Video!
I think we should all stop being anything in particular and just "be". Don't you think?

Irvan said...

Your blog is nice,
I like your blog.

Toyin O. said...

Nice post.

Stephaine said...

Nobel dids for your people.. Its my very first time to know more and learn a deeper thing about the jews I had a very special jew friend in china before but sometimes I am afraid to asked him about jews because i dont know what will be his reaction.
sometimes I dont understand his action my bad because i did not ask..
thanks for the information.. nice to know more about the world that is out of my reach

picxy said...

Very good,inspirational post dear.i really loved reading it.keep it up.