- Religion and Philosophy
Inspirational Quotations by Jewish Authors #5
Religious Inspirational Quotations
TOPICS: Benevolence; Charity; Courtesy; Encouragement; Forgiveness; Frankness; Friendship; Generosity; Hospitality; Kindness; Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself; Memories; Sacrifice; Service; Tolerance; Understanding.
The noble effects of a bright intellect, the exalting energies of a powerful, the generous sympathies of a benevolent heart, alike tend to vindicate the divine origin of the human soul, to elevate the condition of our societies, and hence to bespeak the admiration and gratitude of all generations.
---James K. Gutheim, The Jewish Messenger, New York, N.Y., June 8, 1860.
Bold but not benevolent charity is an insult to the taker and an accusing witness against the donor. The only charity which is elevating is helping one to help himself. Such charity is called benevolent.
—Alexander Kaufman, The Jewish Voice, St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 5, 1926.
Manual, creative work (in the sense that making anything is creative) has always been an essential part of human nature; it is even more essential today, when the machine age has tended to routinize our jobs, to give us a sense of inferiority by thrusting us into a complicated economic system in which our individual efforts seem to be insignificant, mechanical motions which could be performed just about as well by the next fellow. And particularly in these troubled times, when established values are tumbling all around us, people need the sense of self‑confidence, self‑respect, that comes only from seeing something take complete form under their own hands.
-‑‑Boris Blai, American Magazine, Springfield, Ohio, January 1940.
Give charity with your heart and not as a dole.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Dec. 31, 1914.
The real meaning of charity is for both the giver and the recipient to recognize the milk of human kindness.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Jan. 2, 1915.
Give charity with the blessings of a boost, rather than with the curse of a kick.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Jan. 2, 1915.
Charity properly bestowed is either preventive of evil or promotive of good. Look at its value in meeting and relieving the calls and cries of want and suffering. Unless we adequately go forth to lighten the burdens and soothe the soreness that have been precipitated by the general deprivation and depression we shall have an abrupt and dangerous increase of criminality. It is useless to argue with severe hunger and other forms of suffering. A normal natural rebound to such is often some form of moral perversity. Accordingly, whoever refuses or fails to make appropriate satisfaction to the calls of charity at a time of unusual strain makes addition to the varied cost and evils of criminality. Charity is conservative of character. Parsimony is a path to prison.
Properly conceived and carried out charity is a recognition of individual or social misfortune that strikes down fellow workers in the social scheme who have a just claim upon the uplift possible to our better fortune. He who perpetrates it in this spirit comes out of the transaction bigger, stronger, better, spiritually and morally, and so is happier for the deed.
It is thus that God is a good debtor. Thus and otherwise does He bless those who in His name graciously befriend their brothers, His needy children, Accordingly, let us welcome as providential the need of the hour as an opportunity for increasing our own blessing through the brightness we bring into the gloom that has fallen upon the lives of others.
---Alexander Lyons, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Dec. 30, 1931.
There is no discord when the keynote of friendship, love and truth is touched. It is sweet music to our ears, it entwines our hearts, it animates us all to discharge the same duties, and encourages us in the stormy combat of life. … Actual deeds of charity and benevolence and a willingness to help and assist our fellow men must be the only test point of the sincerity of our profession. Do not parade your good deeds before the world. To the true-hearted the consciousness of having performed a good act and having been the means to relieve a brother or a sister in distress is the only reward desired.
---Judah Weschler, Daily Globe, St. Paul, Minn., April 27, 1882.
Charity, as well as Faith, must be tempered by Reason, unless one is to become folly and the other fanaticism.
—Moritz Spitz, The Jewish Voice, St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 29. 1913.
Charity and Faith cannot be divorced; one is conditioned by the other.
—Moritz Spitz, The Jewish Voice, St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 12, 1913.
We cannot hold the thought that any government, no matter how humanely administered, can replace the normal agency of private charity in the daily contact with those who need help.
—Herbert H. Lehman, New York Times, New York, N.Y., Nov. 15, 1936.
A man of true courtesy listens to anyone who attempts in good faith to express his ideas. This is not only courtesy, but common sense. He realizes that people who know less than he in one field may know a lot more in another‑‑he may be able to learn something from them!
‑‑‑Andre Maurois, This Week, New York, N.Y., Oct. 28, 1951.
Encouragement is a star of hope, a flash of cheer, a bit of blue sky and silver lining peeking through the clouds of despondency.
No encouragement is too much; none is too little; all encouragement stars ever-widening circles of good cheer and good will and accomplishment.
Encouragement is the cradle that has rocked all achievement; it makes possible the pace that wins every race; it is the fount that shoots sunshine and ambition into indecision.
Men get lots in the wilderness of wearisome monotony but encouragement rains manna by giving momentum and power and impetus to hope, by fanning the flames of faith and lending wings to aspiration.
All through the history of the world encouragement has stiffened upper lips, rejoiced hearts and given loose to inspiration.
Encouragement is the lever that has lifted countless men and women from the depths of despair and desperation to the heights of affluence and influence.
Whatever the goal, encouragement will lighten the loads, ease the road, shorten the route.
Give that chap a lift!
---Herman J. Stich, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Nov. 4, 1919.
You must learn to forgive if your life is to be pleasant. Perhaps it is impossible to forget a wrong done to you, but you can teach yourself to forgive it when the wrongdoer sincerely seeks your pardon. To remain unforgiving is to hurt yourself, for then you are bitter. Your refusal to relent poisons your thoughts and eventually your body becomes ill. It is said that a man gets ulcers not from what he eats but from what is eating him. This is a fact. Numerous physical ailments can afflict the person who burns with anger in a fury of implacable resentment. The best way to teach ourselves to forgive is to remember that we expect God to accept our contrition when we truly repent. The God of justice and righteousness is also a God of love and therefore He forgives the sinner who devoutly prays for absolution. How can you expect God to forgive you if you refuse to forgive your fellowman? Moreover, you ought to be honest and humble enough to admit that you, too, make mistakes and commit wrongs as you go along. Certainly you want to be forgiven for your errors. You hope that the person you hurt will accept your apologies, excuses and explanations. Do, then, unto others as you would have them do unto you. Learn to forgive and you will learn the right way to live.
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Nov. 24, 1956.
To live happily with one another we must learn to forgive. No family and no friends, however close, can ever completely avoid situations of tension, differences and sometimes disagreement. Being human, we are not perfect and therefore are prone at times to hurt one another by what we say and do, just as much as by what we forget to say and do. How tragic it is to see brother against brother, a family divided against itself, friends broken up, bitterly detesting one another and refusing to see the other side and to relent. In some cases all of life is lived through without any reconciliation. Death comes and it reveals the true ugliness of strained and broken love. Then it is that the brother cries out, "Why did we not make peace with one another long ago? Why did I have to hate so much? He was my brother, my own flesh and blood. Alas, I have sinned." This same contrition overwhelms people in many instances. People rigidly maintain the posture of antagonism only to poison their own as well as others' lives. What a sin it is not to forgive, not to let love in and reunite us with our dear ones. How can we expect God to forgive us our trespasses if we forgive not one another?
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Jan. 10, 1959.
There is a time for remembering and a time for forgetting. We can pray, delve deep within ourselves and take counsel. But ultimately, the only person who can help us to let go of old, past fears, threats, hatreds and resentments is our own self. To carry this excess baggage within us to disrupt good, healthy relationships. Vendettas and hatreds only destroy us--they warp and twist us and distort our efforts to reach out and befriend others. It may take time for us to mellow and gain a different perspective. As we mature and grow, we see we no longer need to "hold on" to old angers and resentments--we come to realize that our parents were, after all, human like us, and that they, too, had parents. Or, we come to see that people who once treated us in a cold or even hateful, derisive manner were themselves, having to endure cold, derisive, hateful situations or relationships. So, better to strive for compassion and to try to understand them and move on with one's life. Revenge and counterhatred is a waste of precious time and energy. Revenge is, at best, empty and hollow. The best part of each of us is our God-given ability reach out after the many years and move on with life.
—Richard Zionts, Shreveport Journal, Shreveport, La., July 20, 1985.
A young woman writes about her inability to make friends and states that “My girl friends tell me I am too frank and ought to forget myself once in a while. I have tried it but I find it hard to tell anything else but the truth at all times. The boys from my schoolhood days say the same thing. Thanks to my parents I have been brought up very broadminded and have a good education.”
I want to say to this girl that while it is very commendable to be broadminded it is more to be desired to be big-minded—that is, while it is good to look for truth it is sometimes worthwhile to overlook it.
Being frank is certainly of good use to one’s welfare, but it is the abuse of frankness that causes the trouble and often detracts from a personality that might otherwise attract. Truth is the most important thing in the world. The seekers of truth are the saviors of the race. This is constructive truth. At times it is very ugly and may hurt, but it does something in the progress of things. It fills its part and gives opportunity for correcting mistakes.
No one need ever discount the truth and its value, and frankness is an element of truth. But there is such a thing as being too frank—brutally frank. This is the truth that if used too much rather hurts than helps. There are some people who are always telling you the truth that wounds without doing any good. They do this under the guise of friendship and therefore assume that they have the right to be frank to an unlimited degree. Yet there is a limit and a price to such frankness. Almost every one of us has an acquaintance whom we dread meeting because we know that he or she will always confront us with something painful or unpleasant.
I am thinking of a woman who, almost upon meeting her, will say in a gracious voice: “Now, dearie, I think you ought to know about this. Of course I don’t want to hurt you, but you ought to do something about it.” And then she will fill your ear with some gossip that when sifted down is meaningless.
You leave her with a sense of having been hit, and a feeling of resentment swells up in your heart until you actually grow to dislike her and rather try to keep away from her. You know instinctively that she has just told you the story to “hand you one,” and gradually you try to avoid such a person.
I do not mean by this that there are not a great many friends whose frankness and criticism are welcome.
You know they are trying to help you because experience has shown they not only tell you such things but tell you kind things as well. They are the friends who are with you, right or wrong. They handle you with boxing gloves when you are strong and with silk mittens when you are weak.
They are frank when they fight for you as well as bring frank with they fight with you. When the leave you, having told you something that hurts, still you respect them for their frankness, and your resentment, if any, leaves immediately because you realize the importance of their confidence; but the people who are frank just for the sake of telling the truth, regardless of the consequences, usually are the troublemakers and get nowhere in the end.
Of course there are the “touchy” people to whom you can never tell the truth. They are weaklings and are to be avoided. The great value of being frank is to be frank without being offensive. It is largely a matter of tact and discrimination. To be frank and leave one with the feeling that you have rendered him a service is truly the highest kind of friendly service. That is the only kind that counts in the long run. That is the kind that makes and hold friends.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., May 25, 1918.
The easiest way to lose a friend is to tell him things for his own good.
---Jack Rosenbaum, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 16, 1973.
Friendship [is a] temple which God builds into the hearts of men. We all worship at times before the altar of friendship. Life is a deserted island without a friend to make it bright and cheerful. Heaven’s gate is shut to him who comes alone. We may have wealth and all the spices of life, and yet be lonely, miserable creatures, if we have no friend. For it is not on these we so much for happiness depend as on the shadow of a friend. Just as there can be no happiness without individual friendship, so there can be no happiness, no peace on earth without national goodwill and national friendship.
No man is strong enough to stand by his own efforts, no can can exist and thrive by the fruit of his own labot. We are the heirs of all the ages, of whata they have achieved and bequeathed unto us. We are mutually dependent upon one another. …
“All are architects of Fate
Working in the walls of Time:
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low
Each thing in its place is best
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.”
What should, therefore, characterize these relationships is justice. Pure white justice must be the link which binds me to my fellowman even if he be not of my family or of my circle of friends. Without this justice the social structure tumbles.
When one nation arrogates itself the right to dictate the world, directly or indirectly, then it perverts justice. For this earth is broad enough for all nations to dwell together in unity. And when justice is perverted we have war and the sword. Likewise it is in our individual relationships, where men, at times, amass fortunes and live idly in affluence, while those who labor and sweat live in poverty. Is not that a perversion of justice? Witness the sword and war which appear periodically in our industrial relationships. Here, too, we may discover some dark sports by the light of our conscience. Let us not fail to atone for these by dealing justly with those who toil for us, whose services we need and by whose services we need and by whose efforts we benefit.
What of our duties to the community, social, religious and philanthropic? Here, too, there is room for reflection. There are in every community the socially strong and the socially weak, the godly and the ungodly, the learned and the simple, the rich and the poor, the fortunate and the unfortunate, and were it not for the sense of duty God has installed in all of us to be mutually helpful to one another, to be our brother’s keeper, we would sink to the level of the brute.
The world demands of us a higher standard of virtue. Our morals must be better. Our charities must be broader. Our quota of good and noble characters must be greater, to ensure for us an equal share of justice.
We pray God to blot out our sins. God can no more blot out our sins if we keep on hugging them than can a physician cure our wounds if we keep on tearing them open. We are co-workers with God in the reconstruction of life. … God demands the heart, a pure and clean heart. And if we have defiled it by our conduct towards our dear ones in the home, towards our friends, towards our fellowmen, the best way to make atonement is to amend our ways and heal the injuries which we have inflicted.
---Samuel Schwartz, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Sept. 20, 1918.
Friendship cannot be purchased with gifts and compliments. Friendship is made. You make friendship with friendship. Friendship is the acquisition of personality. It is made when you give of your own soul, feeling and consciousness to others.
---Morris Lichtenstein, New York Times, New York, N.Y., May 18, 1925.
Do not expect too much from a friend, and you will always have one.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Dec. 30, 1913.
The great test of friendship is forgiveness, without which it is unworthy of the name.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., March 4, 1915.
One of the big elements of friendship is to try to be one’s self. People who act a part and try to show a fine friendship to which they cannot live up always fail because sometimes, somehow, they are caught unaware of their real self becomes apparent.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., April 20, 1918.
A friend is one who stands up for you in public and sits down on you in private.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., April 20, 1918.
A friend is one who helps you take your bitter pill by sugar-coating it for you.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., April 20, 1918.
A friend is one who handles you with boxing gloves when you are strong and with silk mittens when you are weak.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., April 20, 1918.
When you are in the down-and-out club a friend is one who will give you the first aviation push.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., April 20, 1918.
After adequate observation I have found my conviction justified that the people who persistently tell me, “You know that I am one of your best friends,” presume upon my knowledge. As a rule I do not know it. My best friends do not din their friendship into my ears. They do not need to. They prove it often enough to convince my intelligence.
Persistent protestation of love or friendship commonly proclaims a plentitude of pretense as atonement for a poverty of practice.
The Germans have a pertinent proverb to the effect in English: Self-praise is suspicious. I commend this to the vast number of “friends” who treat virtue as a sort of varnish, superficial, instead of substantial.
---Alexander Lyons, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 7, 1932.
There can be no true friendship without a certain amount of sympathy, born of likeness, born of sincerity, along lines of thought, honor and intelligence.
—H.R.R. Hertzberg, Austin Daily Statesman, Austin, Texas, June 14, 1905.
It is what you have done for someone lately that keeps alive the awareness of your affection. To be sure we ought to remember and be grateful for what was done for us in days gone by, yet the fact remains that the majority of us not only want to continue to receive the kind of attention that we once knew, but we are even more hurt by the neglect of a friend who once was generous toward us but is no longer thoughtful.
This holds true in our own family relationships. Your parents, your brothers and sisters to whom you were most gracious, both in word and deed in years gone by are keenly sensitive to your neglect, if you are no longer the attentive son or daughter or brother or sister you once were.
They will not remember what you did for them through the years. You may cry out, "But why are you angry with me now? Don't you remember how I helped you through school, how I helped you buy the home you wanted and supported you in the time of greatest need?"
Should you say such things you will be told that you are a "bad giver," that you are a person who expects that the recipient of his generosity should grovel at his feet forever.
Whether we like it or not the fact remains that it is what you have done for some person lately that counts. You cannot live off the memories of past generosities on your part. Friends cannot stand neglect. To have a friend you must constantly be a friend.
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Oct. 2, 1954.
In the world we will find many acquaintances but few friends. Friendship is an art that should be cultivated like music, painting and sculpture. It means long training of the heart and soul. It means openness and candor, steadfastness and sympathy. A good friend is indeed a lamp that guides to a safe path in distress and storm.
—Harry Weiss, The Jewish Voice, St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 2, 1914.
Too many people still seem to believe that they can take their riches with them when they die. They certainly have heard that it is much better to give than to receive. Surely they know that shrouds have no pockets. Moreover, their own government encourages private philanthropy through liberal income tax deductions. Nevertheless they are reluctant to part from cash when called upon to do so for a worthy cause.
How blessed and happy are those men and women of wealth who contribute generously to their fellow men in need. Such great hearted souls rejoice to give, to help, to stretch forth the hand of love. They add to the spiritual stature of themselves and their communities. They put religion into action as they come forward to strengthen worthy institutions and individuals who, without them, would suffer or perish.
The stingy, miserly people probably get some satisfaction out of holding on to what they possess. But in terms of deep abiding happiness in living, they are paupers. Their own families are waiting and counting the days until they did so that they can collect. Their neighbors and friends lose respect for them. They are faithless to the teachings of their religion and a detriment to the common good. Sometimes a miser will leave a will that benefits society. Of course this is better than if he had not done so, but how much more enjoyment a man gets out of life when he can see the good he is doing.
One of the finest humanitarian traditions of the human race is to be generous. It is, after all, a manifestation of that renowned quality of mercy which is "twice blessed. It blessed him that gives and him that takes."
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, June 9, 1956.
He who would enjoy hospitality must give it.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Jan. 31, 1914.
Hospitality is not confined to the home. It is concerned with all human relations. Duty is the practice of hospitality with all the attributes of godliness, with a oneness of mind and hand; wherefrom hates and envies, malice and jealousies, ignorance and misunderstanding are absent. In simplest words, duty to God, duty to one’s fellow, is fulfilled when the gift of the hand is accompanied by the wants of the heart. This is duty for duty’s sake, duty done without inhibitions, equivocations or reservations, duty for the sheer love of fulfilling responsibility. It is the task of religions to emphasize the golden rule, arduously, constantly, incessantly, until, like a tidal wave, the truth will inundate the minds of men and flood their souls with the spirit of divine love.
---Samuel J. Levinson, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Nov. 21, 1932.
Remember that the day is lost if you have been unkind.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Dec. 31, 1914.
An ounce of consideration is worth a pound of contention.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, Washington Times, Washington, D.C., Jan. 2, 1913.
A little kindness is like a little seed. You sow it and forget about it, but with time and proper conditions you come unexpectedly upon a consequence. It may be a growth of some grandeur. It may be only a smile, And yet is it not a great thing to have shed a luminous lifting ray into a darkened soul leading it to look up again and to try once more to soar? I hold it to be a greater thing to have caused an eye to gleam or a dimple to deepen where before squatted solemn somberness than it is to have implanted a flower or even a tree. After all, the products of nature depend for their value upon the applications of human nature. … The material is momentary. The spiritual expressed goes on not only enduringly but increasingly. A word of encouragement sometimes gives to what seems a brief moment the wings of eternity.
---Alexander Lyons, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Jan. 11, 1933.
No [one] has the right to remain with idle hands, thanking God for the safety of [one’s] self and family and keeping away from the general misery around her. We must get rid of the idea that our own individual happiness counts for anything. We count only according to the happiness we contribute to those around us. Even our so-called vices are not of very great consequence so long as they hurt nobody but ourselves. As soon as they affect others, either those with whom we come in contact or even the generations yet unborn, they become a menace to humanity and must be punished. Therefore, if our selfishness is depriving needy people of the succor we are able to give them, it is a crime and worthy of being treated with the harshness we accord to all criminal acts. True, like many other crimes, it may never be brought to light and may even go unpunished, but we ourselves in the inmost depths of our hearts will know that when the call for usefulness came, we hesitated and lost the opportunity of helping and doing some good to others.
Some of us spend a whole lifetime waiting for the chance to do something “big” and die without having achieved it, while all around us have been countless opportunities to do many little kindnesses and accomplish much good, but we passed them by because we were waiting for the “big” opportunity that would send our name down to posterity and bring us immortal fame.
The world needs people who can take hold cheerfully and uncomplainingly of the task at hand and carry it forward to the best of their ability.
Today the world needs men and women who are neither too proud nor too timid to serve humanity. Don’t wait to be invited; don’t hide behind the skulking shadow of fear. Go out fearlessly on your self-appointed task of being a neighbor.
---Jessie Abrams, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Oct. 25, 1918.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF
Love is the only lubricant that makes the marriage wheel go without screeching.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Oct. 23, 1913.
The instrument of all helpfulness and service is love. It is the means of all union, the cement of society, the fragrance of the soul. It is the essence of the law, the inspiration of life, the goal of all endeavor, the measure of all excellence. Love is perfection. Love is the ocean from whence come all refreshments, dews and gracious rains, whither came all the tributaries and streams from the highest summits of the mountains. It is the splendid delirium of youth and bathes old age in sunset beauty. It is the crown of triumph and the solace of disappointment. It is the cup of enchantment that lends its iridescence to lowliness and toil, and yet the throne of empire is joyless where love holds not the scepter.
---Leon Harrison, St. Louis Republic, St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 12, 1900.
Resolve to decorate the lives of the living rather than the graces of the dead.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Dec. 31, 1910.
Wear out in doing for others rather than rust out alone.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Dec. 31, 1910.
Reach the road of reform by the lane of love.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Dec. 21, 1911.
Love is the only lubricant that makes the marriage wheels go without screeching.
Love extended at the right time stops the tear.
Love is the straight road of happiness.
Love is the only key that has no duplicate.
Love is a habit. Get it!
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Dec. 27, 1911.
Love never loses its flavor when seasoned with the salt of respect.
---Sophie Irene Loeb, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Oct. 8, 1912.
Love is expansive, when it is the real thing. It overflows with an exuberance of emotion that it not only wants to share but must share. It is a condition of surcharged feeling. To limit it, to deprive it of its object is fraught with the danger of explosion or of other harmful reaction.
I can always judge the genuineness of the religious claims of people by their inclusiveness. To love is to flower spiritually and exhale sweetness. When anyone preaches a religion of love, and yet indulge prejudice and other forms of separate antagonism, I feel that they are humbugging themselves or trying to humbug others.
---Alexander Lyons, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., July 20, 1932.
Morality, to be effective, must be as universal in time, place and expression as we can possibly make it. We need a realization of an ever-expanding cooperative relationship of our mutual need and of our common welfare. Life must be lived considerately, compassionately and cooperatively, otherwise we may postpone but cannot escape the penalty and pain of periodic depression and deterioration. This is now our greatest need. Without God, man is ultimately a failure.
---Alexander Lyons, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1933.
Good will implies candor, love of truth, openness to the incoming of good from any source, sympathy and generosity for the good of others and a consequent joy in the consciousness of both serving and sharing with others. Is this not great, a consummation devoutly to be desired?
---Alexander Lyons, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Dec. 20, 1933.
Every heart can become a sanctuary of the eternal. Wherever there is love there is holy ground.
---Julius Silberfield, Angelica Advocate, Angelica, N.Y., March 17, 1910.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Theoretically this law has been commonly accepted by all creeds as the basis and cornerstone of practical religion. Promulgated by Moses and reiterated by Jesus, it has found its way into every catechism, is read and expounded in cathedral, church and synagogue. Yet throughout the circling centuries no other law has been more frequently violated than this sublime law of love. Indeed, in its strictly literal sense it may be said to voice an ideal that never can be attained. It asks more than the average man can do or give.
The predominating passion of mortal man is love of self—a love that always was and ever will be stronger than his love for others. Society is not made up of saints and self-sacrificing heroes. Common experience teaches that as a rule men cannot, will not, love their fellow men as much as they love themselves.
For a clear understanding of our text we must distinguish between self-love and selfishness. Self-love is a natural human trait. If wisely controlled and properly directed it is not only justifiable, but is a necessary incentive for our self-preservation and self-improvement. Selfishness, on the other hand, is self-love absolute and tyrannical, devoid of any and every consideration for the rights and privileges of others, a passion that beclouds our reason and stunts our moral being, our sense of justice and of love.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself” therefore means: Learn to love thyself wisely and well; employ every faculty at thy command to advance thy moral and material well-being. This is thy privilege and thy duty. Be not selfish in thy love. Extend it gladly and freely to thy fellow men. If thou canst not entertain for all men the same tender feeling of love and affection, or love them as much as thou lovest thyself, love them in the same manner as thou lovest thyself. That is to say, put thyself in thy neighbor’s place and accord him the same kindly consideration and fair treatment, in thought, word and action, that thou wouldst expect or ask for thyself. This thought was expressed by Rabbi Hillel: “What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy neighbor.” And later by Jesus in the “Golden Rule:” “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
Love thy neighbor as thyself—thy neighbor, child of the living God, created in the divine image, sharing with thee the same noble faculties and superb possibilities; thy brother, indeed, before God, the Creator and Father of all!
Love may be greater than justice. But justice is the foundation, love the superstructure. Ruskin wisely says: “Do justice to your brother—you can do that whether you love him or not—and you will come to love him. But do injustice to him, because you do not love him, and you will come to hate him.” And then remember that if you wait to do great things, or a great deal of good at once, you will never do anything. Rather begin to let your love for your fellowmen show itself in small things, one by one; in kindly mien, pleasant speech and loving acts, now, always, everywhere.
---Louis Stern, Evening Star, Washington, D.C., July 30, 1905.
“Why go on caring?” is a question that presses upon humans as often as any other and is perhaps more inclusive than any query that reaches the heart of man. The sources of the quety are not far to see. They arise out of our human frailties and imperfections; they grow out of impatience and weariness; they derive from the disparity between the standards by which we measure self and another, with infinite patience with self and most finite impatience with another.
We are prompted in the matters or issues of impersonal life to put to ourselves the query, “Why go on caring?” because of the prompting of a variety of causes. On the one hand, there are doubts born, it may be of intellectual difficulties. Again, there is cynicism, which is often nothing more than weariness of the spirit finding excuses for itself and the mood of disillusionment.
And the affirmative answer to the question gnawing at the heart of man, “Why go on caring?” is made possible only by the native resiliency of the human spirit, man’s almost indomitable hope for the world, man’s almost unconquerable faith in himself. Despite doubts besetting and cynicism corrosive and all but overwhelming desperation, man is, for the most part, a being of unending hope. Man somehow answers, “Why go on caring?” with the affirmations of trust and unexplored spiritual resources which he may tap in crises. These are as the second wind of the athlete as he runs his race. And this is only another way of saying that we humans are bigger than we know and even dare let ourselves believe. The truth is that the human spirit is wont to accept no finalities save victory, no ultimate issue save triumph. That is human self-affirmation; anything less is self-negation.
---Stephen S. Wise, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., July 9, 1934.
Caring is of the very essence of life’s worthwhileness, because of our own subconscious, withal compelling faith in the truth and justice of the universe. We go on caring for one another despite hurt and disappointment, wound and disillusionment because of faith in the imperishable divinity within ourselves, because of faith in the indestructible divinity of another, with all the redemptive and transfiguring power of such faith. The wisdom of faith may rescue another from the sense of defeatism or rather set free the entangled feet of another from the maze of inferiority, so that the spirit may pilgrim forward upon the high road of spiritual self-reliance.
Unlessening and unchanging care on the part of personalities has done much for great causes, against every hazard of defeat and even risk of death. A transfiguring power rests within the magic of caring deeply and vitally, evocatively and therefore creatively for the highest, despite all that hinders and denies and even overwhelms.
To go on caring is of little moral value to self or another unless one can go on without either of two things which annul its value, namely, bitterness on the one hand and crushing self-pity on the other—the bitterness that wounds others and crushes self and the self-pity which is the last vestige of irremediable weakness.
---Stephen S. Wise, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., July 16, 1934.
The science of fellowship is the highest of human sciences.
---Stephen S. Wise, Bryan Democrat, Bryan, Ohio, July 1, 1910.
Recently a friend of mine did a loving thing. Being a newcomer to the neighborhood in which she lives and having many neighbors who are new arrivals themselves, she invited some 14 neighbors to come over one morning at 10 o'clock to have coffee and get to know one another.
I bring this to your attention because, while it has happened before, most of us do not go out of our way to be neighborly. My friend is a person who is much too rare in a world that urgently needs more people like she is. We all want to be good neighbors and wish that we had good neighbors, but we are either too shy or too neglectful to do anything about it.
We all want to live in a neighborhood in which we can confidently raise up our children and to which we can bring our friends with pride.
We like to think of our city as a warm-hearted, hospitable place, where people are thoughtful of one another's needs and extend the warm hand of fellowship. We fondly believe that our country is a nation of friendliness and that there is no place on earth where people can be as happy as we are in America.
But despite these tender ideas and gracious thoughts, we ourselves, in our own back yards, fail to do our part toward the fulfillment of fellowship. Talk about being good neighbors with the other peoples of the earth, how about being a good neighbor to the person next door or across the street?
You have no right to complain about your neighborhood unless you have done something, as my friend has done, to get to know your neighbors and to make them a significant part of your life.
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Aug. 28, 1954.
Cruelty takes on many shapes. Its obvious manifestation is bad enough but at least, being recognized, you can do something about it. A wife beater is certainly a cruel man. Nevertheless his act is clearly the evil thing it is and the wife can get a divorce on grounds of cruelty.
Far more difficult to handle is the subtle form of cruelty like belittling comments, planting seeds of self-fear and self-doubt in another person, denying deserved favors with righteous arguments. There is also the crafty cruelty of making insidious comparisons between people; like telling your wife that another woman is much more beautiful; like telling your son or daughter that he or she is not as nice, nor as bright, nor as attractive as other youngsters.
There is the cruelty of not talking at all, of refusing to discuss the subject, of withdrawing from family fellowship. How discouraging and destructive it is to receive no response from the person who ought to be your closest and best friend.
Perhaps most awful is the cruelty of neglect; of deliberately forgetting to honor an occasion, refusing to compliment and congratulate when it is due, declining to express in word or deed the sentiments of attention and love.
All of us need to be on guard against practicing these forms of mental cruelty. It is so easy to inflict our tempers and moods upon others who are terribly hurt by such cruelty. Marcus Aurelius said, "Control thyself." This is wonderful advice, especially when it keeps us from thrusting mental cruelty and suffering upon those around us.
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Sept. 8, 1956.
A new year offers us another clean page upon which we can write the story of our lives. It is bright with new opportunity. We have only to resolve to learn from the mistakes we have made in the past to generate that enthusiasm which enables us to view the new year as another chance for meaningful living.
Sometimes it can help us if we take a motto with us into our lives.
One of the greatest mottos that we can live by and with for this year is to be found in these words, "I am my brother's keeper."
This does not mean that only he is your brother or she is your sister who is a member of your own family. This means that all men are your brothers, that all people are related to you because God is our common Father and all of us are His children. This means to be kind to all.
How much of life's disappointments and sorrows would fade away if there were only a little more kindness in the world. To be kind is to be willing to overlook faults, willing to love the unlovable, willing to give to others in need and to help them to become independent of need.
It means that you look out upon the world with friendship, not with hatred or jealousy. It means that you shun brutality and choose the way of goodness.
The story of mankind proves that when men are treated brutally they respond as brutes, and that only the good draws forth goodness.
The year has begun again. Life is on the march again.
Let each one of us make it his responsibility to write in this new chapter of adventure which God has given us, a story of brotherly love, of harmony, of justice and kindness to all.
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Jan. 3, 1959.
If you are a sensitive person in these critical times you may feel guilty if your life is pleasant while others are suffering so greatly. There is a feeling of unworthiness that comes to a loving heart when there is so much trouble an so much suffering, yet it has not touched you and you wonder whether you have a right to your own blessings.
It is, of course, important to be sympathetic with the sorrows of one's community and nation and the world. It is right that we who call ourselves religious men and women and members of the human race, should reach out to others with understanding and compassion for all that they are enduring.
Nevertheless, it is not our patriotic obligation nor our religious duty to break ourselves down because of our sensitivity. It is not helping anybody else who is suffering if we, overpowered by that suffering, are made so weak and miserable that we can't do anything at all.
The job of a human being is to live his life to the best of his capacities, to do what he can to make his life and the life of his family and those around him as noble, as decent, as fine as it can be.
Then he must be concerned with others but never to a point where that concern destroys his own family life.
We all know of certain people who will spend themselves in philanthropic causes and yet in their own home life are miserable to live with.
There are those who bleed for the suffering world but they bring a great deal of misery into the lives of those that live in their homes. Instead of having charity begin at home, they bring nothing but trouble to their homes and then whatever kindness is left they offer to the outside world. To live properly within the scene that confronts us and of which we are a part, we must accept the fact that we cannot solve all the problems of the earth.
Yes, we must do our part, we must do our share but our first obligation is to keep ourselves strong and well, spiritually and physically, mentally and emotionally. Then we are ready to help others and then we can give to those that are near and those that are far, the support and the strength of a person who is sound and balanced and reliable.
We ought to remember the Bible's teaching in Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as THY SELF." That SELF means you and your family.
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, May 15, 1965.
We pray that the memories of our dear departed should be unto us as a star of light in Heaven, to guide us in our perplexities, to inspire us and to stimulate us to do good deeds and noble actions. Remembering our parents who have passed away, visualizing their countenances, helps us in making our lives better and nobler. At least for the moment we are better disposed and more considerate in our dealings with our fellow men and we become more useful to ourselves, and of greater helpfulness to others. By remembering them we derive sustenance, spiritual and intellectual nourishment for ourselves, which must cause our regeneration. Because we remember our ancestors, because we remember their lives and their experience, we are able to improve, to make progress, to build better and stronger for ourselves and our children.
---Jacob Bosniak, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., June 2, 1930.
Let our memory review those elements that in the past tended to weaken the foundation tsone of the temple [of the soul] which should be most carefully reared for God’s habitation. Thrice blessed is he who can be guided by his past year’s experience upon which to base his endeavor in the coming twelve months. Fear not self-examination, days of remembrance. True, they may recall times and occasions that cast sadness, remorse, or unpleasantness. But such memories are necessary as the surgical knife is for amputating a dangerous member of our system. Spiritual health requires at times such surgery. Having ferreted out our misdeeds and our misapplication we are ready to build anew. Let all of us in the coming year start enriching our lives, enlarging our souls, building character by the laws of true architecture—by the laws of truth, obedience, beauty, sacrifice, memory, so that when the Architect on High will summon us hence we will not hesitate to say: “O my God, the soul which Thou hast given me is pure; Thou hast created it; Thou hast formed it; Thou hast breathed it into me; and I am returning it to Thee as Thou hast lent it to me.” A soul kept in such a state means a life of happiness, contentment, and peace.
---Julius Berger, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Sept. 22, 1922.
Memory needs to include regular times for recollection of those who come before us. For they represent our beginnings, our tradition, our heritage. A modern writer once said, "We need two things for life--we need roots and we need wings. Roots to tell us who we are, where we came from; wings to inspire us and carry us forth into the future of our dreams and hopes."
First, our roots. The remembrance of the past--people, places, experiences and events--all conveyed to us through ritual, symbol and life-cycle ceremony--gives us our basic identity. Remembrance also gives us a focus and grip on the direction of our own lives and the lives of others. These roots, the anchorages and moorings of our history, provide us with stability and perspective in a world of rapid change and shifting foundations.
We are a generation that has been blessed with "wings," with tremendous advances in the fields of medicine, education, technology and science. We may be even more keenly aware of the needs of our society, more sensitive to human suffering and degradation. These will help us to fly and reach ever upward. Our memories, in the form of our roots, will give us the spiritual sustenance and balance needed to attain our goals.
—Richard Zionts, Shreveport Journal, Shreveport, La., May 26, 1984.
When we are young, we believe that everything in our lives, including our own selves, will go on forever. This leads us to take so much for granted, including our parents. They will, we believe, always be there when we need them or when we call.
As the years go on, however, we see our parents and ourselves growing older. With the passing of the years, death, too, enters into our family lives; loved ones, including our own parents, slip away into eternity and we see them no more.
A realization then comes to us as we grow older, something we found difficult to comprehend in our earlier is the awareness of our human mortality and finitude--that our years on earth are limited eventually come to an end; that we can no longer take people and things for granted as though they always will be there for us.
Another realization is the powerful role that memories have in our lives. A modern poet once wrote: "to live on in the hearts of those we love is not to die." For as we grow in years and wisdom, we come to see that memory is a precious form of immortality. Our remembrances and fond recollections keep our parents alive for us in a very real and immediate way, though years have passed since their death.
—Richard Zionts, Shreveport Journal, Shreveport, La., June 16, 1984.
Like all great sacrifices, [the] reward lies in the happiness of others. Sacrifice is only a comparative term and is smaller or greater according to our talents. The happy home is built on sacrifice.
---Jessie Abrams, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Feb. 21, 1919.
Are we using religion like we use vitamins--to fortify the self, to use religious affiliation as a kind of magical formula for survival? What a pitiful misunderstanding this is of the real meaning of religion. True religion is not an escape from the challenge of life, it is not a magical formula to solve our problems while we sit back and observe the miracle. True spiritual growth is a courageous meeting with reality, no matter how it presents itself. It is a bold plunge into the icy waters of fact. It makes one do something about the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. It is not a comfort, it is a challenge. It is not a protection from pain, but rather is willing to face any amount of pain for the sake of godly things. Religion means sacrifice. It means caring about what goes on in the life of other people. It means extending the helping hand, sharing the burden and the load. True spiritual growth is a whole way of life which a person follows fearlessly, even though he suffer because of it. It is the hard way on the surface, but it is the most rewarding way in the world. To choose this kind of spiritual growth involves a discipline. There will be times when you will deny yourself what others are grasping so eagerly. It will sometimes make you the champion of the unpopular cause. At all times you will be found in those enterprises which are charitable, which seek to help people to enjoy better living. You will know that the way to love God is to love all His children, that you must help people, that you must never hate, never deal falsely. Of course this means occasional trouble. But through the road may be hard, it will not be lonely, for when a person walks with God he is never alone.
—Hyman Judah Schachtel, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, May 14, 1955.
The connotation of the Hebrew word meaning sacrifice is "korbon," derived from the word, "korov," nearness. The text literally expounded means: If a man brings an offering to the Lord, when he wishes to draw near to the Lord, he must bring a sacrifice with all his soul. He must sacrifice his selfishness and his evil inclination. He must sacrifice the animal within himself in order to approach the high ideal of his faith.
—Mayer Winkler, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., March 24, 1924.
Unfortunately self plays a very important role in our lives and only a few of us can succeed in overcoming our self-consciousness and forgetting our self-love. We have acquired the habit of regarding every new occurrence in the light of its effect on ourselves—how we may benefit by it—how it will add to our well-being or detract from our happiness. We weigh our every action on the same scale and always with an eye to our own material welfare. Being so highly concerned with ourselves, we do not measure up to man’s original standard, namely that of being a little less than the angels. A person who is living only for self is very much less than an angel.
We are supposed to be of service to others—to the utmost of our ability, to use our talents for their benefit and not for our own. We so often hear the expression, “I’m not going to be friends with her any more; she’s of no use to me.” A horrid expression, you must admit, and yet one that we hear all the time. It sounds all wrong as if one sought friendship only for an ulterior motive. How much better it would sound if we said, “I must be friends with that person, for although she may not be of any use to me, I may be of some use to her.”
It seems to me that this is the time to ask one’s self the question, “What have I to offer to my fellowmen?” and on the satisfactory answer to that question will depend our satisfactory relationship with those about us. Present-day ideals call for service and all about us we see men and women answering the call and giving up all the benefits that selfishness has monopolized and made necessary to our well-being. The world today wants men and women who are ready to sacrifice themselves to the common good. It is no longer a question as to whether you or I will benefit most, but it is a question as to what you and I can give up in order to be of the greatest usefulness to others. The woman who can sit idly by and watch other women give up their loved ones, their time, their pleasures so that the world may be a better place to live in, is a selfish creature who is retarding progress. The woman who can go on thinking only of clothes and good times at a time like the present is not a product of civilization. She belongs to the age of barbarism when women were considered of no value excepting as they could deck themselves out to be pleasing to the eye. It was a time when women were supposed to belong to a very low order of intelligence. There are actually some women who have never risen above this class. They are the women who are not giving, but taking, and thus they are missing the very highest privilege accorded to man—the privilege of being but a little less than the angels.
---Jessie Abrams, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Aug. 2, 1918.
Real success is the success of service. It is the greatest of ideals. All other possible ideals, peace, justice, righteousness, happiness, joy, love are all included in this success, since none of these is attainable except through the ministry and agency of this one ideal, service. I an thinking of service as a revelation of character. I am thinking of service which brings out those particular gifts with which most of us are endowed. He serves who "lives in the day, but not for the day," who reveals in his life an enthusiasm for men and a recognition of the spiritual essence of each and all men. He serves who gives of that which he might become through self-expression and self-development and constant devotion, gives these constantly and readily and places these on the altar of humanity to bless and inspire and ennoble mankind. Such men serve and when they give the maximum of their service, give all of which they are capable, and give it in a high spirit; they have succeeded and theirs is success.
This being the reality of success, what is the way thereto? He who desires success of this kind must have a standard apart from those of the bloated Philistine, of the smug and complacent materialist; it must be the highest standard, it must be the greatest aim conceivable; it must be the noblest ideal thinkable. He must know himself. To attain real success you must know your powers, your capacities, your capabilities. You must know wherein your powers lie and you must not let any of them be wasted--you must use them to the fullest. And having a high standard, and knowing your powers, you must believe in yourself, believe in your potentialities, believe in your spiritual resources, and use them, develop them. Let what is in you come forth. Unfold yourself. Unfold all that is within you, for we are full of "the germs of growth," and to fail to believe in these, to fail to develop them is treason to one self and treason to our fellowmen, to whom our growth is also the only contribution and the only service that we can render.
Believe in yourself. The great souls of history have always been those who had such faith in themselves. I say to you who would truly succeed, stand by, stand by, persevere; don't be veered off from your goal. Don't permit yourself to be drugged by the flattery or praise of others, and don't let the opium of whatever wealth may come to you dull your sense and dim your vision of the higher aims and goals with which you began the journey. Be clear-eyed, clear-minded, true to yourself.
That is the real success, all the rest is sham. Wealth may come with that real success. It may not. Position and influence may be yours, too, but these are only incidental, for you will have succeeded only because you were true to your highest ideal, you have given in service of the best that was within you, of your highest capacities, up to the fullest extent. It is a high aim, reaching out for that kind of success, when so many of those about us are intent upon the sham success. Failure may come, but let it not be defeat; for failure is but hope deferred, while defeat is hope lost.
—David Lefkowitz, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, May 19, 1924.
Service means sacrifice for those who are less fortunate than we. It means assistance and defense for those who are, for any reason, persecuted.
—Herbert H. Lehman, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 6, 1939.
Nobler than the hermit who flees from the world to keep himself unspotted, by isolating himself from association with others, is he who mingles with the wicked and the sinner, who helps to bear the burdens of humanity, doing his part to elevate the morals of society, laboring in the dust and in the confusion of the arena where the battle of life is fought.
Services performed on behalf of our fellowmen are equally as important as prayer and repentance. We cannot be at peace with God unless we are at peace with our fellowmen, as Malachi says. It is unnatural for human beings to be satisfied without congenial fellowship. We find that deplorable is the lot of him who is solitary in the crowd. There is nothing more sad than the lonesomeness of a stranger among strangers.
Never will the holiest of beings be happy if he can form no alliances of friendship. Cultivate relations of familiar intimacy with those who are high minded and godly .
I do not mean we should band together with none but those having similar tastes and similar opinions as our own; there is too much of that kind of partisanship in all walks of life.
To broaden our interests with other views than our own. But we must not be indiscriminate in our selection of friends. Friendship is too precious to be given promiscuously, therefore, saintliness thrives and grows by companionship with those who have realized the ideals of a holy life.
We should find companions among those who live upon an elevated plane of conduct. The influence of association with those that have the love of God in their hearts will support us in our efforts to cleave to the true, the pure sublime, and will enable us to render greater service to the vicious and degraded.
—S.J. Schweb, Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., Oct. 2, 1922.
From tolerance, we proceed toward active, constructive and mutual appreciation based on understanding. We will not be guilty of bitterness and a desire for vengeance because of real or imaginary wrongs. We will understand that a sense of brotherhood is the price of peace. We will learn to cultivate tolerance and appreciation when other people’s opinions sharply or even diametrically differ from our own. We’ll cultivate patience of ideas, no matter how violent these differences may be.
—Adolph H. Fink, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, Provo, Utah, Oct. 20, 1952.
True tolerance means respect for the opinions of others, whether they are in agreement with our own or not. It means the acceptance of the democratic principles of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of conscience. It means exact equality under the law for all. It means the recognition of the democratic principles on which our country was founded and which are safeguarded for us in the Bill of Rights.
—Herbert H. Lehman, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 6, 1939.
We must show that we have the wider vision and the deeper insight, that we are not hemmed in by petty prejudices and overwhelmed with selfish interests. Self-understanding will come to us only when we have tried to understand others. We shall be of the greatest value to ourselves only when we have tried to understand others. We shall be of the greatest value to ourselves only when we have helped others to realize their value. Our minds, our characters, our very lives are a reflection of what we have done rather than what we have been. Let us find out what we can do and do it. We shall find that our estimate of our own powers was very low, that our capacity for doing good is infinite and elastic.
---Jessie Abrams, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, March 15, 1918.