In each of the Jewish studies classes I teach here at Indiana University though our Hillel program, I try and begin sessions with one or more quotes from Pirke Avot, Sayings of our Ancestors. Pirke Avot, is a book in the Mishna which was redacted around the year 200 after being handed down orally from generation to generation. Laws and discussions in the Mishna became the subject of larger rabbinic debates and comments which are known as the Talmud.
As Rosh Ha Shannah, our Jewish new year rapidly approaches, beginning ten days of personal introspection and redirection, I submit this as food for thought:
Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from all men, as it is written (Psalm 119:99) "I have gained understanding from all my teachers."
Who is mighty? He who subdues his passions, as it is written (Proverbs 16:32) "One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city."
Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion, as it is written (Psalm 128:2) "You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you." "You shall be" refers to this world; and "it shall be well with you" refers to the world to come.
Shannah Tovah, A Happy and Sweet New Year to all.