This time last week I attended a Bar Mitzvah ceremony in Chicago at a "green synagogue". I was struck by two passages read in the course of the ceremony. One attributed to Albert Einstein and another from poetry by Marge Piercy. These words found great resonance within me and I share them without commentary.
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other, above all, for those upon whose smile and well-being our happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of others, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.
Albert Einstein (adapted)
We are given fire to see against the dark, to think, to read, to study how we are to live, to bank in ourselves against defeat and despair that cool and muddy our resolves, that make us forget what we saw we must do.
We are given passion to rise like the sun in our minds with the new day and burn the debris of habit and greed and fear.
We stand in the midst of the burning world; primed to burn with compassionate love and justice, to turn inward and find holy fire at the core, to turn outward and see the world that is all of one flesh with us, see under the trash, through the smog, the furry bee in the apple blossom, the trout leaping, the candles our ancestors lit for us.
From "Interpretive Nishmat Kol Hay" by Marge Piercy.