Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

One Part Study, One Part Prayer, One Part Kindness

Rabbi Jay M. Stein on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Shimon HaTzadik was one of the last members of the Great Assembly, This is was a favorite teaching of his: The world rests on three things - on Torah, on service to God (prayer), on deeds of loving kindness. (Mishna Avot 1:2)  

When my son was a small boy we would take him for his regular visit to his pediatrician.  Each time I had a list of concerns and questions.  I was a new parent and was trying to navigate this complicated world of parenting.  One particular visit I was distraught over the fact that I could not get him to eat vegetables at every meal.  Some days he would eat them and some days he would not.  I was very concerned he did not have a balanced diet and he was missing out on necessary vitamins and nutrients.  Our pediatrician simply remarked that he was confident that over the course of a week our son was getting everything he needed.

The same is true of our lives.  We need to balance all of the varied requirements made on us.  We must find a way to get the spiritual nutrients required, offered, suggested by our tradition. A daily dose of each would be great but if that is not possible then at least over the course of a week we ought to find time to nourish our spiritual life fully.  To which our Mishna asks us to add one part study, one part prayer, and one part acts of kindness.  If we can find a way to live by this formula we can construct a more meaningful life.