Rabbi Sacks on a Culture of Hope

JInsider (March 2010)

I often thought, about Jewish history, how was it that Jews managed to survive every catastrophe, exile, dispersion, persecution, the works? And the answer that kept coming back to me was hope.

Jews kept hope alive and hope kept the Jewish people alive. But then I started thinking, “Doesn’t everyone hope.” And that was when I realised that not every culture is a hope culture. And it was Jews who really created the intellectual revolution that made hope possible.

If this world isn’t just happenstance, if it was created in love by a creator, if that creator communicated with us, if that communicator empowered us, if he said, “I give you freedom, and I know in giving you freedom, you will make mistakes, but this, I promise you when you stumble, I will lift you when you fail. I will give you strength. And when you make mistakes, if you recognise their mistakes, I will forgive you.” That was the basis of hope. And you cannot have Judaism without hope.

And I think you can’t have hope without at least some influence of the Jewish view of the world.