Quote

This page offers a monthly quote that I hope you will find inspiring or meaningful, thought provoking or on occasion controversial.

Av 5780
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
Representative John Lewis

Tammuz 5780
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
Emily Dickinson

Sivan 5780
I look at the world
From awakening eyes in a black face—
And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space
Assigned to me.

I look then at the silly walls
Through dark eyes in a dark face—
And this is what I know:
That all these walls oppression builds
Will have to go!

I look at my own body
With eyes no longer blind—
And I see that my own hands can make
The world that's in my mind.
Then let us hurry, comrades,
The road to find.
Langston Hughes

Iyyar 5780
When I see a person walk among us as though he has solved all riddles and conundrums, or as one for whom a new ‘Guide of the Perplexed’ has been written... or one who really doesn’t need any such guidance at all, since his mind is clear and relaxed and he has never known any sort of confusion, I think of him as someone who lives in another world, beyond the reversals, torments and hopes of our own muddled world, or perhaps someone who has solved all problems by chewing some magical cud. As for myself, I’m happy with my confused, uneasy soul.
Berl Katznelson

Nisan 5780
Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

You cannot enter. But you're sure it's there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.

Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope.
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.
Czeslaw Milosz

Adar 5780
A person must cross a very, very narrow bridge. And the most important rule is: Do not allow yourself to become afraid.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Shevat 5780
If an answer establishes its place, a question makes that place its universe.  There is no place for questions which is not also a question of place.  Answers mean sleep, death.  Waking means questioning.
Edmond Jabes, The Book of Margins

Tevet 5780
Every journey takes us inward as well as outward. As we move through new places, encountering new people and food and artistic creations, new languages and customs and histories, a corresponding journey winds within as we discover new morals, meanings, and imaginings. The real journey is the ongoing and ever-changing interaction of the inner life and the outer.
Don George, The Way of Wanderlust

Kislev 5780
“Emptiness is the track on which the centered person moves,” said a Tibetan sage six hundred years ago, and the book where I found this edict followed it with an explanation of the word “track” in Tibetan: shul, “a mark that remains after that which made it has passed by— a footprint, for example. In other contexts, shul is used to describe the scarred hollow in the ground where a house once stood, the channel worn through rock where a river runs in flood, the indentation in the grass where an animal slept last night. All of these are shul: the impression of something that used to be there. A path is a shul because it is an impression in the ground left by the regular tread of feet, which has kept it clear of obstructions and maintained it for the use of others. As a shul, emptiness can be compared to the impression of something that used to be there. In this case, such an impression is formed by the indentations, hollows, marks, and scars left by the turbulence of selfish craving.” In Yiddish, shul means a synagogue, but I was trying to send this missing ancestor not to temple but to a path through an uninhabited expanse where heaven seems to come all the way down to your feet.
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Heshvan 5780
I lost my way, I forgot to call on your name.  The raw heart beat against the world, and the tears were for my lost victory.   But you are here.  You have always been here.  The world is all forgetting, and the the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place.  Blessed is the one who waits in the traveller's heart for his turning.
Leonard Cohen

Tishrei 5780
This world is a momentary glory.
I never thought it would last forever
so I tried to get it down
in one notebook or another,
in one poem or another.
Somewhere you can find it.
Harvey Shapiro

Elul 5779
Faith is not that complicated. Religion always is.