Pirkei Avot, Day 14

 

Our sages were clearly experiencing the same human dynamics as we are today. Their wisdom weaves through time and speaks to us today. Let’s break it down.

“What is the right path?

One that honors both self and other.”

We’ve heard this before. It’s not enough to only work on your needs and wants, on your places to grow. While evolving, it’s important to be aware of what is going on around us. To help where we can help, to love and support the other.

“Be as mindful of small acts as great ones, for you cannot know the consequences of either.”

So often we feel helpless because we feel that our contribution won’t even make a dent. Our sages tell us otherwise. Every action not only makes a dent, but has the potential to make a huge ripple. Don’t judge the size or impact of what you do. Do it for the sake of doing it.

“If you decide to act, weigh the cost to you against the benefit to others.

If you decide not to act, weigh the benefit to you against the cost to others.”

This is important insight, especially if we are to honor both self and other. Sometimes such a small act, at very little cost, can benefit someone else in a much bigger way than imagined. We also have to make sure we’re not hurting ourselves more than we are helping others. On the other hand, sometimes not taking action can cause tremendous pain to others. It’s important for us, especially in those times where we feel helpless, to ask ourselves these questions.

There is a lot of work needed out there right now. People are losing their homes, others are protesting for their lives, children need supplies and food since schools are closed, people’s mental health is suffering. Use your time to heal your surroundings in whatever way you can, while at the same time doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. Don’t ask what your contribution could possibly do to help. Instead remind yourself that your contribution can change the course of even one person’s life. And isn’t that worth it?

Reach out to me if you’re looking for ways to help.

Love you!

Gabi