Sidney Greenberg

Sidney
Greenberg
1917
2003

American Rabbi and Author

Author Quotes

Help us to convert our convictions into conduct and commitment. Help us to narrow the gap between our principles and our practices, between our aspirations and our actions.

One of the real perils of growing older is that we tend to think less and less. We feel that we know all the answers? The mind and the soul become wrinkled. The function of prayer is not to enable us to acquire what we should like to possess, but rather to become what we are capable of being.

Trouble and sorrow naturally make us think of ourselves. But after the first impact of the blow has worn off, our emotional recovery depends on our ability to forget ourselves. And there is no better way of forgetting about ourselves than by thinking of and serving others. The road of service leads in time to the green pastures of healing.

A Prayer for Graduates: Lord of the Universe, Dean of the University of Life: You have given us minds that can stretch with knowledge, spirits that can deepen with understanding and hearts that can overflow with gratitude. We thank You for our sons and daughters who have grown in mind and in spirit, and we are abidingly indebted to their teachers who have patiently and hopefully nurtured that growth. As our graduate go forth from this school into Your University of Life, keep them ever mindful that among the required courses in Your curriculum are firm loyalty, constant kindness, soft compassion and wide tolerance. Teach them the lessons they must learn by heart and the less the heart must learn. May they never forget that it is important to know not only how to make a living, but also how to make a life. We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. May they always remember the harvest of happiness is reaped by the hands of helpfulness, and the City of Contentment is located in the State of Mind. The whole world was not enough for Alexander the Conqueror, but a tub was sufficient for Diogenes. Keep them from any enterprise for which they would hesitate to ask Your blessings. Help them to become all that they are capable of being. May they live up to their own highest expectations and make the most of their native endowments. Help them to understand that more important than mastering any skill is mastering themselves; more crucial than controlling others is self-control. May they learn to prize integrity above luxury, principle above expediency, value above valuables, worth above wealth. When life tests their courage and their character, may they pass with highest grades. Impress upon the tablets of their minds that service is the tuition they must pay for the seat they occupy in life?s classroom. May they measure the rewards of service not by what they get for it, but by what they become through it. Help them, O God, so to live that their names may be worth of being on Your Roll of Honor. Amen.

Here is where the Divine playwright enters. God is the true Hero of the Exodus. For it is God who enables a stammering, tongue-tied Moses to be the vehicle for the greatest words ever uttered by a human being. It is God who takes an inflated tyrant and cuts him down to size. It is God who converts an oppressed, downtrodden horde of slaves into 'a kingdom of priests and a holy people.' Every year at Pesach time the descendants of those ex-slaves retell and reenact this ancient drama, making it the longest running play in history.

Spiritual income from Judaism: (1) A sense of life?s worthwhileness and high potential worth. (2) A feeling of personal dignity as a creature of the Divine. (3) An awareness of belonging to a proud people and participating in a significant adventure. (4) A high ethical sensitivity which restrains and directs. (5) A round of holidays and a system of ritual which raise existence into living and redeem life from monotony and drabness.

We want to run from unpleasant duties, from nagging responsibilities, from life?s complexities and confusions. We want to run from harsh realities, from our fears and anxieties, from an accusing conscience. We want to run from boredom and bewilderment of existence.

A Prayer for Graduates
Lord of the Universe, Dean of the University of Life: You have given us minds that can stretch with knowledge, spirits that can deepen with understanding and hearts that can overflow with gratitude. We thank You for our sons and daughters who have grown in mind and in spirit, and we are abidingly indebted to their teachers who have patiently and hopefully nurtured that growth.
As our graduate go forth from this school into Your University of Life, keep them ever mindful that among the required courses in Your curriculum are firm loyalty, constant kindness, soft compassion and wide tolerance.
Teach them the lessons they must learn by heart and the less the heart must learn.
May they never forget that it is important to know not only how to make a living, but also how to make a life. We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
May they always remember the harvest of happiness is reaped by the hands of helpfulness, and the City of Contentment is located in the State of Mind. The whole world was not enough for Alexander the Conqueror, but a tub was sufficient for Diogenes.
Keep them from any enterprise for which they would hesitate to ask Your blessings.
Help them to become all that they are capable of being.
May they live up to their own highest expectations and make the most of their native endowments.
Help them to understand that more important than mastering any skill is mastering themselves; more crucial than controlling others is self-control.
May they learn to prize integrity above luxury, principle above expediency, value above valuables, worth above wealth.
When life tests their courage and their character, may they pass with highest grades. Impress upon the tablets of their minds that service is the tuition they must pay for the seat they occupy in life’s classroom. May they measure the rewards of service not by what they get for it, but by what they become through it.
Help them, O God, so to live that their names may be worth of being on Your Roll of Honor.
Amen.

Greatness is a matter not of size but of quality, and it is within the reach of every one of us. Greatness lies in the faithful performance of whatever duties life places upon us and in the generous performance of the small acts of kindness that God has made possible for us. There is greatness in patient endurance; in unyielding loyalty to a goal; in resistance to the temptation to betray the best we know; in speaking up for the truth when it is assailed; in steadfast adherence to vows given and promises made. God does not ask us to do extraordinary things. He asks us to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Small souls help the world by what they do, great souls, by what they are.

Happiness cannot be overtaken by those who pursue her. Happiness is a by-product of cheerful, honest labor dedicated to a worthwhile task… We cannot have happiness unless we give of ourselves… If it is true that we cannot get happiness unless we give it, it is also true that we cannot give it without getting it. Happiness has correctly been compared to a perfume. You cannot pour it on others without getting a few drops on yourself.

Some of the most sacred promises are made without words in the silent sanctuary of the soul.

Happiness is a by-product of cheerful, honest labor dedicated to a worthwhile task… We cannot have happiness unless we give of ourselves…

The function of prayer is not to enable us to acquire what we should like to possess, but rather to become what we are capable of being.

Holiness is a crucial dimension of daily living.

The most fateful choices are made in tragic loneliness. In the valley of decision, we stand alone, accompanied by our haunting fears and our stubborn hopes, by dread despair or gritty faith. Yet, though we appear to stand solitary, in truth we are accompanied by the tall and brave spirits who have stood where we stand and who, when torn between “No” and “Yes” to life and its infinite possibilities; by those who have had the wisdom to focus not on what they had lost but on what they had left; by those who understood that fate is what life gives us and that destiny is what we do with what’s given; and by those who, therefore, grasped the liberating truth that while we have no control over our fate, we do have an astonishing amount of control over our destiny.

How does time become holy? It becomes holy when a part of it is given to others, when we share and care and listen. Time is sanctified when we use it – to forgive and ask forgiveness; to remember things too long forgotten and to forget things too long remembered; to reclaim sacred things too casually abandoned and to abandon shabby things too highly cherished; to remember that life’s most crucial question is – how are we using time?

The most isolating form of loneliness is not to be apart from people; it is to be apathetic to them, to be indifferent to them, to feel unrelated to them.

If we wait until circumstances are precisely right for us to achieve and accomplish something, then nothing ever will be achieved or accomplished. Neither we nor circumstances are ever precisely right.

There is no security like the untroubled conscious.

Is there then no reward for living a life of rectitude and uprightness? There is, indeed. We are rewarded not for our good deeds but by our good deeds. The reward for doing good is becoming a better human being. The greatest compensation for any good deed is simply to have done it.

Time converts knowledge into wisdom

A waste far more worthy of our tears is the enormous energy within us that never gets channeled, the love that is never expressed, the kindness that never surfaces, the compassion and tenderness that are never awakened.

Life is a journey, not a destination, and happiness is not “there” but here; not tomorrow, but today.

We are rewarded not for our good deeds but by our good deeds. The reward for doing good is becoming a better human being. The greatest compensation for any good deed is simply to have done it.

Author Picture
First Name
Sidney
Last Name
Greenberg
Birth Date
1917
Death Date
2003
Bio

American Rabbi and Author