“The VOICE over many waters …” Psalm 29
Ruth Messinger, former president of the American Jewish World Service, cautions us not to let the enormity of what needs fixing be an excuse to turn aside from involvement. “It is our responsibility to work through the feeling of being overwhelmed, find ways in which we can make a difference, and remember our tradition teaches that to save one life is to save the world.”
From the local to the global, the world around us is full of causes crying out for our attention. Each of us needs to identify a need that we can respond to, a problem that we can help alleviate, suffering that we can lessen in some, and we must commit, amidst all of our family and work and personal obligations, to do something to help.
Rabbi Tarfon, one of our earliest sages in the Mishnah said: “Lo alecha a hamlacha ligmor, v’lo atah ben chorin L’hivatel mimena,” which means “it is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.” [Pirke Avot 2:21] We cannot allow the magnitude of all that ails our world to lead us into hopelessness.
The late US representative John Lewis said, “do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
Amidst the enormity of what needs fixing, there is an opportunity to make a difference.
This includes excerpts from: “Making a Difference” By Rabbi Sharon Stiefel.
Dave Edwards, Para-Rabbi, Congregation Ohr Shalom,
Grand Junction; Western Slope Faith Leaders Table