Rabbi Sacks on the Jewish Role in the World

JInsider (March 2010)

There was a former Marxist, once professor of Marxist thought at the University of Moscow who became religious, Christian. His name was Nikolai Berdyaev. He said beautiful things about Jews. But he did say one respect Jews got it wrong. “They believed there can be justice down here on earth. And we Christians know that there can only be justice up there in heaven.”

To be a Jew is to believe, obstinately and insistently, that you can have justice down here on earth. And that is why so many Jews became lawyers, fighting injustice. Most of Nelson Mandela’s lawyers were Jewish. They became economists, fighting poverty. They became medical experts, fighting disease. To be a Jew is to be an agent of hope down here in the here and now, making life just a little better, making the world that is just a little closer to the world that ought to be.