Get Yourself a Good Heart

As we read Rabbi Olan’s sermons every week, we notice a question which frequently comes to the fore:  What do you think is the good [we should] cherish most?  In other words, what is most important for a good life, a meaningful life? 

In his sermon of November 2, 1969, he takes this question from a book called “The Sayings of the Fathers,” a two thousand-year-old book which contains lessons from experience which wise men learned and recorded.  He then gives some of the answers that students offered their teacher: to have a generous eye; a loyal friend; a good neighbor; the gift of foresight; a good heart.  (Rabbi Olan suggests that it is even better to BE a loyal friend and a good neighbor than to HAVE one.) 

Stop reading for a minute.  Thinking about your own life experience, how can you understand these answers?  Do you think there is a “right” answer? And what might you add to this list?

Then read the sermon to see how Rabbi Olan explores these answers.

In setting up the dialogue between teacher and students, he is inviting us not merely to read and receive his words.  He is asking us, as he always does, to engage with the question and explore our own   experience. 

Follow this link to read the sermon text.
Follow this link to listen to the audio recording.

*Written by Frances M. Olan and Lionel S. Joseph*