“You shall arise as a lion each morning to do the will of your Creator.” That stirring sentence opens the Shulchan Aruch, one of the most influential codes of Jewish law. It reminds us that at the heart of our tradition is the conviction that there are things worth fighting for.
We all cherish peace, but we know that there will always be battles for ideals that are noble, and everyone of conscience must be prepared for such fights.
In South African author and anti-apartheid activist Alan Paton’s book, Ah, But your Land is Beautiful, there is a conversation between two men who risked their lives fighting for racial justice in South Africa. One says that they may bear many scars for the effort, and the other answers: “Well, I look at it this way. When I get up there, the Great Judge will say, ‘Where are your scars?’ And if I haven’t any, He will ask, ‘Were there no causes worthy of getting scars?’”
Arise like a lion and bear proudly the scars from noble struggle.
Rabbi David Wolpe’s musings are shared in My Jewish Learning’s Shabbat newsletter, Recharge, a weekly collection of readings to refresh your soul. Sign up to receive the newsletter.