21 August 2020
‘Live as if all life depended on you’
In my Friday evening reflections, I often draw on the Authorised Daily Prayer Book, with its introduction, commentaries and notes provided by the former Chief Rabbi, Lord (Jonathan) Sacks, or on Service of the Heart, published in London over half a century ago by the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues in 1967, and edited by Rabbi John Rayner and Rabbi Chaim Stern.
In the section of prayers, readings and reflections on the theme of ‘Righteousness,’ Service of the Heart includes these thoughts, drawn from Hasidic Holiness, a classic work translated and compiled by Rabbi Louis Israel Newman (1893-1972):
We have learned: Declare at all times, ‘The world was created for my sake,’ and do not say, ‘Of what concern is this to me?’ Live as if all life depended on you; do your share to add some improvement, to supply one small thing that is missing, and to leave the world a little better for your sojourn in it.
And it has been written: ‘Fire shall be kept burning upon the altar continually; it shall not go out.’ Our heart is the altar. In every occupation, let a spark of the holy fire remain within you, so that you may fan it into a flame.’