Perhaps you have seen the weather predictions for this weekend: according to the soothsayers, fortune-tellers, and diviners who get paid to guess our future atmospheric conditions professionally, the high temperature in Tucson this coming Sunday is projected to be 117 degrees Fahrenheit. If true, this will tie our all-time record hottest day in Tucson, which happened in June of 1990, 26 years ago. It will also be so hot that all the jokes about frying eggs on the pavement, and it’s-a-dry-heat-but-so-is-the-inside-of-a-pizza oven will actually come true. And our common defensive response—“it’s hotter in Phoenix!”—will be only marginally appropriate. They are expected to hit 118 degrees, a statistically insignificant difference.
Frankly, my friends, the heat is on. Of course, as has been noted before, that while everyone talks about the weather no one does anything about it. They simply kvetch. Like me.
Which, at times, seems to be what we Jews spend much of our time doing, kvetching, complaining. In fact, you can make a case that the two principle Jewish occupations are kvetching and eating.
But that’s not actually what our tradition teaches us. Pirkei Avot, the great ethical chapters of our ancestors in the Mishnah, tells us Lo hamidrash ha’ikar, ellah hama’aseh—the main principle is not study, but practice; or, to put it more succinctly, “it’s not the talking that matters, it’s the doing.”
I thought a lot about this principle this past week, in the wake of the horrifying shooting in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning.