Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 21 - Rabbanit Carmit Feintuch

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

There is one biblical verse that I love dearly: “He has shown you, o man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love kindness and to walk modestly with your God”. (Micah 6, 8)

I was raised on these words, and it still has the sweetness of childhood for me. This verse reminds me of my beloved grandmother, who passed away a long time ago. For me, grandma was an influencing and educational figure. She lived the life of a pioneer on a Kibbutz, life that was modest and meticulous. She knew this verse by heart, it was her mantra. 

I love this verse for its great simplicity. Not a simplicity which means that it is easy to live according to it, but because it has a simple clearness regarding  what you are required to be. This requirement comes directly from God, and it is good for the people. These two things go together, and already in this harmonic understanding there is unity which gives strength, clarity and comfort. 

Justice, kindness and walking humbly with God. These requirements are profound and basic, and at the same time they are high demands and great pretensions. On one hand, they are natural, reasonable and simple, but on the other hand, they are almost not feasible.

It’s a phenomenal mixture of words: “What does the Lord require of you?”. Only that. It's little and basic, and at the same time it's a lot and all embracing. 

To act justly and to love kindness, these are almost two contradicting principles. Precisely because of that, it is necessary to complete the reality with both of them.

Justice is an absolute value, without it there is no scale or moral clarity. It is the necessary rule of law. Kindness is what makes us step out of ourselves for someone else, even above the law, because once we worry, our heart goes out. “Walk humbly with your God” is the base for everything. The root of sins is the lack of humbleness. Hubris is the source of impurity and sins, because it cancels everything and especially cancels the other, whoever is outside of me and different from me. “Chutzpah” (audacity) towards the sky and violence towards the inhabitants of the land, which will be able to heal, only if we act more modestly. I allow myself to add the powerful words of Rabbi Nachman: “the purpose of knowledge is that we will not know”. The more we grow and know, we learn how much we don’t know. The foundation of our lives, death and life, is not in our hands, nor the entire truth. The essence of knowledge is the understanding that I don't know and that in every conversation I need a modest inquiry with others. Each person is a small world, the repair starts with me. 

I wish myself and the State of Israel to know that humbleness will lead to justice and kindness.


Rabbanit Carmit Feintuch

Rabbanit Carmit Feintuch is a spouse and mother of six. She teaches in different Batei Midrash, is Rabbanit of a Jerusalemite congregation, and is active in the Rabbinic council of Beit Hillel.

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