Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

Balance

Rabbi Jay M. Stein on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

Mishna Avot 1,18

RABBAN SIMEON, SON OF GAMALIEL USED TO SAY: ON THREE THINGS DOES THE WORLD STAND: ON JUSTICE, ON TRUTH AND ON PEACE, AS IT IS SAID: JUDGE YE TRUTHFULLY AND A JUDGMENT OF PEACE IN YOUR GATES.

Reading this Mishna, I have the image of a stool with three legs with Rabban Simeon teaching “the world rests on these three legs.”  It is clear that society can balance only momentarily on two of the three, but will ultimately fall. All three are necessary for a stable world.

The corollary for the individual is equally valuable. While Rabban Simeon explores the critical components for society, there are equivalents in our personal lives. There are three principles on which each one of us relies. Justice for society can be translated as trust, truth is forgiveness and peace is happiness.

Each of the universal pillars can be personal as well. Each of us needs to find the ability to trust, to ultimately forgive and be happy or we will lose our balance. We can, for a short time, rely on one or two of the three. Some of us are better at balancing than others. However, even for the strongest among us, we need to find all three to live a fulfilled life. Trust, forgiveness and happiness are the three things on which our personal lives rest.