Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Eternity in a single moment ...

I remember clearly the first time I heard the story ... a story I've told countless times since ... It was in University ... Our Professor Adele Reinhartz was teaching us the Gospel portion of a New Testament studies course. We had arrived at the teaching of Jesus we Christians know as "The Golden Rule."

Dr. Reinhartz said, "as a young girl, our rabbis taught us a different version from Jesus ..." She then told the story of a young man who wanted to learn the WHOLE of the Torah while standing on one foot ...
The young man went to rabbi after rabbi after rabbi. Each learned scribe rejected his request. Some treated him with anger, some with pity, but all of them simply rejected his request. So, the young man journeyed through life until he met the Great Rabbi Hillel.
The young tired from his search and his journeys asked the great Hillel - "Sir I would like you teach me the whole of the Torah while I stand here on your doorstep on one foot ..."
The great teacher smiled. He stroked his beard and said, "Young man, this thing you ask of me is easy. The whole of the Torah is simply this: 'That which is hurtful to another, you do not do. Ever.' All the rest is merely commentary ... Now go and learn it."
I've realized today that sometimes it is THAT simple:
If it is hurtful to another - don't do it.
If it will hurt another in anyway - don't do it.
If it is mean spirited or brutish - don't do it.
If it will cause another grief or harm - don't do it.
If it is not helpful and affirming - don't do it.
Jesus took Hillel's teaching and modified it slightly then gave it to us ... sadly, too often we simply ignore it. Especially within the Church ...
Like a whisper across time ... they are words worth heeding ...

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