mesorah

mesorah (4)

Friday, 08 April 2011 07:48

compassionate faith

Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-panicRav Kook understands savlanut in terms more closely related to what we would call “tolerance.” More often than not, religious people are faulted for their lack of tolerance. While I would assert that non-religious people can be just as intolerant as religious folks, I appreciate the insistence on holding religious people to a higher standard! After all, shouldn’t we be exemplifying God’s highest values? If this is the case, then savlanut takes on a whole new layer of meaning when we think of it as tolerance.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 10:22

positive interruptions

Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-siddur3

Our patience is tested the most when we encounter life circumstances that alter our vision of how the world around us should look. These circumstances most often come in the form of interruption.

Some interruptions are minor and irritating (traffic jam, long line at the market, etc.). Some interruptions feel devastating (death of a loved one, serious illness, etc.). Patience does not let us off the hook. We still have to do our part to initiate change, but patience is crucial in those circumstances in which we have to deal with the hand we've been given. A key prayer in the Siddur utilizes moments of interruption as opportunities to connect with God and one another: kaddish.

Friday, 10 September 2010 10:48

patience that breeds change

Written by riverton mussar

art-onefootOur Rabbis taught: A certain heathen once came before Shammai and asked him, "‘How many Torot have you?"

Friday, 10 September 2010 10:04

the patience of Hillel

Written by riverton mussar

art-tubTalmud - Mas. Shabbath 31a

 [Our Rabbis taught: A man should always be gentle like Hillel, and not impatient like Shammai.]

It once happened that two men made a wager with each other, saying, He who goes and makes Hillel angry shall receive four hundred zuz. Said one, I will go and incense him.

That day was the Sabbath eve, and Hillel was washing his head. He went, passed by the door of his house, and called out, "Is Hillel here, is Hillel here?"

Thereupon he robed and went out to him, saying, "My son, what do you require?"

"I have a question to ask", said he.

"Ask, my son", he prompted.

Thereupon he asked: "Why are the heads of the Babylonians round?"

"My son, you have asked a great question", replied he: "because they have no skillful midwives."

He departed, tarried a while, returned, and called out, "Is Hillel here; is Hillel here?"

He robed and went out to him, saying, "My son, what do you require?"

"I have a question to ask", said he.

"Ask, my son", he prompted.

Thereupon he asked: "Why are the eyes of the Palmyreans bleared?"

"My son, you have asked a great question", replied he: "because they live in sandy places."

He departed, tarried a while, returned, and called out, "Is Hillel here; is Hillel here?"

He robed and went out to him, saying, "My son, what do you require"

"I have a question to ask", said he.

"Ask, my son", he prompted.

He asked, "Why are the feet of the Africans wide?"

"My son, you have asked a great question", said he: "because they live in watery marshes."

"I have many questions to ask", said he, "but fear that you may become angry."

Thereupon he robed, sat before him and said, "Ask all the questions you have to ask".

"Are you the Hillel who is called the nasi of Israel?"

"Yes", he replied.

"If that is you", he retorted, "may there not be many like you in Israel."

"Why, my son", queried he.

"Because I have lost four hundred zuz through you", complained he. "Be careful of your moods", he answered, "Hillel is worth it that you should lose four hundred zuz and yet another four hundred zuz through him, yet Hillel shall not lose his temper."

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