Rabbi Sacks on the Jewish Narrative
JInsider (March 2010)
Jews were the first people to see God in history. They were the first people to read history as if it were a narrative. And the whole of the Bible is about that. And I once asked myself, “What is the Jewish narrative? How would you sum it up?” And of course, there’s one place where the Rabbis told us exactly what the narrative is. They said in Hebrew, “matchil bignut umasayin bashevach.” “Begin with the bad news and with the good.” So the Jewish narrative never hides it… The Jewish narrative never shuts its eyes to the evils of the world, but that’s only the beginning of the story.
So, the Jewish story begins in slavery, but it ends in freedom. And even if we have to have a 40-year journey across the Wilderness to get from here to there, the Jewish story is a story of hope. It tells us that the world doesn’t always have to be the way it’s been. It tells us that if we work together hand in hand with our fellow human beings and with God, we can make the world a little more beautiful, a little more just, a little more human and humane.
And that is why the Jewish story is a story of hope.