Tonight my Future Milwaukee classmates and I were fortunate enough to visit a Jewish temple, learn a little bit about the Torah and the Talmud, and enjoy an early Passover seder meal with our new friends.
One of the things that struck me as Rabbi Shapiro told us some stories was the idea that there are said to be 36 righteous people on earth. These 36 people don't know that they are the righteous ones. They just live their lives as purely, kindly and simply as they always have, not treading upon their neighbor or their earth, reaching out to serve others in need as they would ask others to help them. The idea moved me, having learned firsthand in Italy and at work a very similar philosophy in the tradition of Saints Francis and Clare.
Rabbi Shapiro went on to say that as one of the 36 dies, another is born, perpetuating the great balance of righteousness in the world. The part that really got me was essentially the moral of the story: because the 36 don't know who they are, no one else does either - so if everyone carried themselves as though they were one of the 36, all of humanity (not just Jews) would coexist peacefully as one great mass of unadulterated righteousness.
It may sound a bit idealistic at first blush, but what's wrong with the power of positive thinking? Who hasn't fancied themselves the center of the universe at some point in their lives? Just don't act like it. That's hardly righteous.
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