Adorning the walls of my office is a poster which tells the biblical story of Samson, replete with the classic quote of Ze’ev Jabotinsky “Tell them three things in my name: “they must get iron; they must choose a king; and they must learn to laugh.” I love that quote as in so many ways it defines Judaism and life.

Some great quotes on the meaning of Judaism and life:

  • “If you don’t know what you’re living for, you haven’t yet lived.” Rabbi Noah Weinberg
  • “I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent.” Rabbi A.Y. Kook
  • “L’fum tzara agra, according to the effort is the reward.” Ben Hei Hei, Ethics of the Fathers, 5:26.
  • “Who is wise? One who learns from every man… Who is strong? One who overpowers his inclinations… Who is rich? One who is satisfied with his lot… Who is honorable? One who honors his fellows.” Ben Zoma, Ethics of the Fathers, 4:1
  • “If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for a tomorrow?” Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
  • “Torah is not just a book, not just a bunch of laws, and not just a history, but so much more. The Torah is a way of life to learn and live, and when studied, a spiritual way to understand life as well as providing instructions on getting closer to Adonai (God). When we treat others kindly, fairly, and lovingly, both in our home, social, and business lives, we are living Torah. The “truth” is the Torah is many things simultaneously.” Laura Weakley
  • “The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice and the desire for personal independence — these are the features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my stars that I belong to it.” Albert Einstein
  • “That is the fantastic intolerable paradox of my life, that I have gone questing for what I possessed initially — a belief to invest my days with dignity and meaning, a pattern of behavior through which man might most articulately express his devotion to his fellows.” Milton Steinberg
  •  “The Jew bows before no man, only God.” Menachem Begin
  • “And the Jewish heart, this idea of love as a totality of connection, is not merely the work for the month of Elul, but is the entire purpose of our creation. This Jewish heart is a symbol for why we were created and what we are meant to accomplish.” Sara Esther Crispe
  • “The apple cannot be stuck back on the Tree Of Knowledge; once we begin to see, we are doomed and challenged to seek the strength to see more, not less.” Arthur Miller
  •  “Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as. . . as… as a fiddler on the roof” Tevye
  • “It’s Hebrew, it’s from the Talmud. It says, ‘whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.’” Itzhak Stern, Schindler’s List
  •  “Who is rich?  He who rejoices with his portion.” Ben Zoma

So much meaning in life and Judaism.