A Short Word about Actions

All he said was, “please, take a bit of water…I’ll get bread, and you’ll eat until your hearts’ content…”  It was just enough to convince his guests, perfect strangers, to sit in the shade for long enough for him to prepare lunch.

He rushed home, asked his wife to bake 20 lb. of flour into cakes. Meanwhile, he ran to help his son slaughter 3 cows, so that he could serve to each one of his unassuming visitors his own personal cow tongue with mustard, so that each of them would know that he was worth slaughtering a whole cow for.  It was clearly worth losing three cows’ worth of meat if necessary to convey that message to them.

He rushed back with milk and butter so that they should enjoy an appetizer before the meal.

All of this, and in the end, it turned out that they were angels who didn’t need food anyway, but politely pretended to eat (“when on earth do as the humans do”).

In times of campaign promises and grandiose proclamations, we are most refreshed not by the lavish meal that we’re served, but by the meager words that preceded it.

The tongue speaks words so much more easily than the legs move to do what they must.  It is no wonder that actions speak louder than words.

Shabbat shalom,


*Based on Rashi, the Mishna in Pirkei Avot 1:14, and “Between Man and God and Man and His Fellow” by the Alter of Slobodka

About the Author
Rabbi Jack Cohen is the Director of Education of the Jewish Enrichment Center in West Village of New York City, working to create interactive educational programs that grant access to Torah that is deep and relevant to 20-somethings who are thirsty for it. Rabbi Jack served as a campus rabbi for Meor at the University of Pennsylvania and an Israel programs educator before that. He is currently coauthoring a book on the subject of individuality and self-esteem through the eyes of the Sages, called "Born to Be." He received his Rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem after his BA from Penn in Physics and Philosophy, and earned his Masters in Education at Harvard last year.
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