Pirkei Avot, Day 3

 

Mishna 2:3

(In Pirkei Avot, we call each entry a mishna)

“Beware of those in power, for they bring people close only to fulfill their own needs; they act friendly when it benefits them, but they do not stand by someone in the time of their need.”

 

In Rabbinical school, my favorite teacher used to pose the same question whenever we studied any piece of history or text:

“Who funded it?”

He wanted us to be aware that even history is political. Even the history that is passed down to us contains remnants of who was in power and when. Beware of those in power. BE AWARE. Some people in power are great, others are tyrants, all have an ulterior motive. To remain in power.

We’re experiencing this turmoil on so many levels right now. People don’t trust the government. Others trust it too much. Some school districts are deciding to open schools while others have shut down. Spiritual leaders are caught in scandals. Some people trust science. Others do not. It’s everywhere. Use and abuse of power and we, the people are left angry, confused, disappointed, and lost.

So what do we do? Where do we turn?

We turn to each other. We stand by each other in times of need, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. We begin with our relationships. We learn to trust each other. We take control of what goes on within our own environment. We decide what is right for us and we pursue it. Together. We depend on those in power to continue to fight for their power and we pray that we fall on the right side. But we do not and cannot depend on power to stand with us in times of need. It’s the hard truth and it’s why it is THAT important that we lean on each other.

Can you think of one way that you can circumvent power and contribute to the good of humanity?

(Example: if schools don’t open, there is a vulnerable population of children that will suffer. Those in power are not doing anything about it. Community members have banded together to pull their resources and provide these children with computers, WiFi, food, and even therapy.)

I know this is a bit of a sticky post but the message I want to leave you with is to not be disillusioned. Don’t give up. Now is the time to move closer to each other, not further apart. Let’s stand by each other in our communal time of need.

Love you all!

Rabbi Gabi