(2.40) A little compassion


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From the desk of Rabbi Brian


A little writing on compassion….
(I only wrote a little, because only a little compassion goes a long way.)

20th century Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, wrote in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander:

The basic falsehood is the lie…that we have the monopoly of all truth, just as our adversary for the moment has the monopoly of all error.

Two hundred years earlier, Baal Shem Tov said,

We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves and from this the Talmud commands us to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You always find excuses for your own misdeeds, so make excuses also for your neighbor.

It is spiritual-religious immaturity to say that we are good and they are not. In fact, we are no different from them except for the fact that we are we and they are they.

Try to love others as much as you can. And, see if you can’t find more love for yourself in doing so.

I know this isn’t easy. There are days where I’m certain they plotted against me. There are days when I’m utterly convinced that I’m right and that the world would just be smoother if things went according to my plan, the way I see it, not the way others do. There are days that I’m certain I’m the last of the good people out there.

I know that’s not true.

I know that they are as right as I am. I know that, as Thomas Merton wrote, I don’t have a monopoly on truth. It takes a little more effort, a little more patience to cultivate compassion and excuses for them.

Spiritual-religious advice this week: be compassionate to all and make excuses for others. (Or at least try.)


With love,

Rabbi Brian

Rabbi Brian

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