Linear and Covenantal Time

“The deepest difference between linear and covenantal time is that whereas the first gives rise to optimism, the latter leads to hope. These two concepts, often confused, are in fact utterly different. Optimism is the belief that things will get better. Hope is the belief that, together, we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one. It takes no courage – only a certain naivety – to be an optimist. It takes courage to sustain hope. No Jew – knowing what we do of the past, of hatred, bloodshed, persecution in the name of God, suppression of human rights in the name of freedom – can be an optimist. But Jews have never given up hope.”

The Chief Rabbi’s Haggadah (Essays), p. 80