“He [Hillel] used to say, if I am not for me who is for me, if I am for myself what am I, and if not now when.”


Hillel begins by saying no one other than myself can “be for me.” The idea, as many of the commentators (Maimonides, Rabbeinu Yonah) understand, is simple. The inspiration required to face life cannot come from without. No one else can turn us on, can give us the zeal to live up to life’s challenges. Our teachers, parents and rabbis may momentarily startle us into proper behavior — maybe a midterm will force us to study Torah — but it will be transient. The only way to truly accomplish in life and achieve our goals is to feel that sense of excitement and fulfillment about growing into life’s challenges. We must know what our goals are, and *we* must want to realize them. 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s