This week, for our text study from Pirke Avot, let me suggest Avot 2:16. The beginning of this passage is known to many. Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.
Many of us are at a stage in life where we come to know, and maybe accept, that we are entering a new phase. The “September” of our years may seem like time to pull back from engaging in the world. Yet, let me suggest that this is a perfect time to respond to Rabbi Tarfon. Creation is never complete. At this stage of life, we now know that, while we cannot “fix” things, we are called upon to be involved in the world, to create that legacy for our children and grandchildren, our friends and community. Indeed, many of now have the time to devote to that cause or causes that we always had hoped to do. We are being called!
This is a time in life for serious choices. What shall our future be as we come to accept that this future is out of our control. So how will we seek to value each day, respond to the on-going call to make the world better? We cannot do it all, but, one task at a time, one relationship at a time helps restore, repair and reimagine our community.
How are YOU choosing to respond to Rabbi Tarfon?
Stay safe. Stay healthy
Rabbi Richard F Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.