American Rabbi and Best-Selling Author
Joshua L. Liebman, fully Joshua Loth Liebman
American Rabbi and Best-Selling Author
I often feel that death is not the enemy of life, but its friend, for it is the knowledge that our years are limited which makes them so precious.
The primary joy of life is acceptance, approval, the sense of appreciation and companionship of our human comrades. Many men do not understand that the need for fellowship is really as deep as the need for food, and so they go through life accepting many substitutes for genuine, warm, simple relatedness.
The quest for this unwearied peace is constant and universal. Probe deeply into the teaching of Buddha, Maimonides, or a Kempis, and you will discover that they base their diverse doctrines on the foundation of a large spiritual serenity. Analyze the prayers of troubled, overborne mankind of all creeds, in every age--and their petitions come down to the irreducible common denominators of daily bread and inward peace. Grown men do not pray for vain trifles. When they lift up their hearts and voices in the valley of tears they ask for strength and courage and understanding.
We are the carriers of health and disease - either the divine health of courage and nobility or the demonic diseases of hate and anxiety.
Why should we not believe that which is highest in ourselves is a reflection of that which is deepest in the universe – that we are children of a Power who makes possible the growing achievement of relatedness, fulfillment, goodness?
When we grow afraid of life and death, let us have the sense of the trustworthiness of the universe, of its encompassing embrace and its sustaining care.
We must make up for the… brevity of life by heightening the intensity of life.
Theoretically, religion wishes to make men serene and inwardly peaceful by reaching a loving and forgiving god. But in practice, there is too much undissolved wrath and punishment in most religions.
Man is not alone and neither his mind nor his conscience nor his creative powers can be truly understood if they are regarded as orphans without some universal Parent.
Atonement, rather than growth, is the aim of the religious confessional, whereas psychotherapy does not require that you feel sorry for your sins as long as you outgrow them.
Not only should we be unashamed of grief, confident that its expression will not permanently hurt us, but we should also possess the wisdom to talk about our loss and through that creative conversation with friends and companions begin to reconstruct the broken fragments of our lives... should not resist the sympathy and stimulation of social interaction. We should learn not to grow impatient with the slow healing process of time . . . We should anticipate these stages in our emotional convalescence: unbearable pain, poignant grief, empty days, resistance to consolation, disinterestedness in life, gradually giving way under the healing sunlight of love,friendship, social challange, to the new weaving of a pattern of action and the acceptance of the irresistible challenge of life.
Stripped of all their masquerades, the fears of men are quite identical: the fear of loneliness, rejection, inferiority, unmanageable anger, illness and death.
Self-understanding rather than self-condemnation is the way to inner peace and mature conscience.
Treasure each other in the recognition that we do not know how long we shall have each other.
Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.
Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.
Maturity is achieved when a person accepts life as full of tension; when he does not torment himself with childish guilt feelings, but avoids tragic adult sins; when he postpones immediate pleasures for the sake of long-term values... Our generation must be inspired to search for that maturity which will manifest itself in the qualities of tenacity, dependability, co-operativeness and the inner drive to work and sacrifice for a nobler future of mankind.