Three Texts for Changing the World

Image:  “I Can Change the World, Every Child Counts” painted on a schoolhouse in South Africa. (henkpijper/pixabay.)

Do you want to change the world? Here are some texts for help and encouragement. One is ancient, one medieval, one modern.

Anxiety in one’s heart saddens it, but a good word gladdens it. – Proverbs 12:25

It is tempting to criticize. However, when we scold and scold without a word of encouragement, no one has the heart to keep on going. Therefore it is important to to put as much energy into encouragement as it is into criticism. Reward good behavior, always. Encourage any move in the right direction.

Proper generosity involves not only money and goods, but also power . . . Generosity with power entails using [the power] bestowed [on us] by God to help those in need.  – Rabbi Abraham Maimuni in The Guide to Serving God.

It is not enough to give to good causes. It is also important to share power. Sometimes that means listening instead of talking, encouraging instead of criticising, serving instead of insisting always on leading.

We must continue to remind ourselves that in a free society all are involved in what some are doing. Some are guilty, all are responsible. – Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

It is easy to point at others and say, “That person is doing a bad thing!” We must also look within and say, “What am I doing that contributes to the bad situation? How can I contribute to real change?” Some are guilty, yes, but all of us are responsible to make things better.

 

 

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rabbiadar

Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi based in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, mom, poodle groomer, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at https://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ as the Coffee Shop Rabbi.

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