A Teaching for Fellowship

A Teaching for Fellowship

A helpful Talmudic teaching is often quoted in the traditional Jewish prayerbooks:

These are the things of which a person eats in This World, and the benefit accrues into the World To Come; and they are: honoring father and mother, acts of lovingkindness, early attendance in the House of Study morning and evening,  receiving guests,  visiting the sick, welcoming the bride, accompanying the dead, concentration in prayer, fostering peace between people; and the study of Torah balances them all.

This passage presents for us a set of practices by which we can instill our values.

These are the things of which a person eats in This World, [we enhance life in the here and now]

and the benefit accrues into the World To Come [with an eye toward the larger good]; and they are:

honoring father and mother [honoring parents and heritage],

acts of lovingkindness [acts of kindness],

early attendance in the House of Study morning and evening [participation in the holidays, celebrations, commemorations and functions of our community],

receiving guests [hospitality, and embracing people],

visiting the sick [emotionally supporting and physically caring for those with illness, troubles and affliction],

welcoming the bride [joining with each other to celebrate joyful rites of passage],

accompanying the dead [joining with each other to mark difficult rites of passage; engaging in acts of remembrance in honor of friends, family, loved ones and community members who have passed away],

concentration in prayer [meditation and contemplative devotion],

fostering peace between people [fostering peace and repairing the world];

and the study of Torah balances them all [with life-long study and learning as a beginning and ending point].

This can suggest many things, including: study, celebration and holidays, dialogue, acts of service, community engagement, music, meditation, movement, drama, conversation, stories, poetry, movies, life-moment celebrations.