WELCOMING SHABBAT

SHABBAT IS MORE THAN A DAY OF REFRAINING FROM WORDLY ACTIVITY 
WHEN EXPERIENCED IN ITS SPIRITUAL FULLEST, ITS HOLINESS ENGLIGHTENS ALL OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK
WE INVITE YOU TO ENHANCE YOUR SHABBAT WITH THESE WORDS OF TORAH 

The Courage not to Conform (Lech Lecha 5781)

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by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l

“Abraham is, without doubt, the most influential person who ever lived. Today he is claimed as the spiritual ancestor of 2.3 billion Christians, 1.8 billion Muslims and 14 million Jews, more than half the people alive today. Yet he ruled no empire, commanded no great army, performed no miracles and proclaimed no prophecy. He is the supreme example in all of history of influence without power.

 

Why? Because he was prepared to be different. As the Sages say, he was called ha-ivri, “’he Hebrew,’ because ‘all the world was on one side (be-ever echad) and he was on the other’. Leadership, as every leader knows, can be lonely. Yet you continue to do what you have to do because you know that the majority is not always right and conventional wisdom is not always wise. Dead fish go with the flow. Live fish swim against the current. So it is with conscience and courage. So it is with the children of Abraham. They are prepared to challenge the idols of the age.

 

…One reason why Jews have become, out of all proportion to their numbers, leaders in almost every sphere of human endeavour, is precisely this willingness to be different. Throughout the centuries, Jews have been the most striking example of a group that refused to assimilate to the dominant culture or convert to the dominant faith.

 

…Judaism is the counter-voice in the conversation of humankind. As Jews, we do not follow the majority merely because it is the majority.”

 

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