There was a time when little changed: People grew up in the same place as their parents, knew the same people their whole lives, did the same work, ate the same food, and heard the same languages as their parents and grandparents. Today we are constantly moving around, meeting new people, hearing new philosophies and ideas, and meeting challenges caused by the changing world around us.
New ideas and new philosophies have flooded our ancient faith. In this confusing time, is there a bottom line?
Once upon a time a Roman came to the School of Rabbi Shammai and said to him, “I should like to become Jewish, can you will teach me the whole of the Law while I am standing on one leg?” When he heard this, Rabbi Shammai took a measuring rod used by builders and drove him away with it.
The Roman left the School of Rabbi Shammai and went to the School of Rabbi Hillel, and asked him whether he would accept him into the Jewish community, and whether he would teach him the whole Torah while he was standing on one leg. Rabbi Hillel accepted him and said, “Yes, I will teach you the whole Torah while you are standing on one leg.”
Then he said to the Roman, “Keep this commandment, ‘Do not do to your neighbor what you would not like to have done to yourself.’ This is the basic principle of the law. All the rest is a commentary upon it. Now go and study it.” In this way Hillel taught him the whole Torah while he was standing on one leg.
We are all bound by the our relationships: to G-d, to other human beings, and to all that G-d has created. All those relationships are touched by the changes in the world. But in each generation, the ancient and blessed conversation-the dialogue that is Judaism-continues.
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)