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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Do Good

I’m going to take a break from my usual casual style posting to say something that is pretty obvious but very much from the heart.

In my life I’ve been very fortunate to meet all kinds of smart, kind, and interesting people:
I have friends who grew up as Mormons and are now atheists.
I have friends with hippy parents who are now conservatives.
I have friends who grew up Catholic and returned to it slightly worse for wear after a rough (extended) youth.
And don’t get me started on my Jewish friends…

Some people I know have experienced doubts and a loss of faith.
Others claim to have witnessed miracles and have renewed their commitment to God.

Some people I know have made these changes along with their families.
Others have found matters of faith to rock the foundation of once strong relationships.

Some people I know keep their beliefs a secret.
Others shout their truths from the rooftops.

Changes are a normal part of life. If your faith is exactly the same as it was when you sat in your nursery school classroom listening to Bible stories it means you are not thinking and not growing. Life is a complicated journey sometimes things go full circle and sometimes you end up exactly 180 degrees from where you started- but no matter where life takes you being true to yourself is the surest path to liking who you are.

To all the people out there who are full of guilt conflict and confusion – whether you are moving toward religion or away from it I have this important bit of advice:


No matter who you are or what you believe: if you believe this life is all there is or if it’s your ticket to the afterlife there is only one thing you can do in this world to make it a better place for everyone and that is to do good.
Help people when you can, empathize with them even when you can’t.
Don’t look away from someone in need or in pain.
Smile when you talk to people let them know you are listening when they speak.

This world is a dark and complicated place, war, hate and suffering surround us – it is everyone’s job to make the world a better place. Being selfish is about the most unsatisfying way to live. A life filled with kindness, mercy, and good deeds is a life worth living no matter what you believe.


At 10:12 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

V'imru, Amein.

Great post, Shif.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

something everyone should learn

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Good is part of the Barbarian Code. Yawp!

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

good chizuk, Shifra!

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So faith doesn't matter as long as we all do good? Very nice, you should be a Bhuddist or something.

At 2:18 PM, Blogger StepIma said...


At 4:24 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

The rest is all commentary.

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Amen. A nice reminder to those of us getting dragged into the mud that often is the blogosphere...

At 1:11 AM, Blogger rockofgalilee said...

The universal question is of couse, "what is good?" And that is what faith and religion are supposed to answer.

Helping an old lady across the street sounds good, but if she was a suicide terrorist on her way into a mall to blow up other people then the best good you could do is to throw the old lady in front of a car instead of helping her cross the street.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shifra: I think the concept of "good" is also "faith driven".

Is stealing from the rich to give to the poor, a good thing?

Perhaps killing evil people...or just bad people...or elderly people who are sick?

At the end of the day, alot of our definition of "good" and "moral" is defined by our faith.

Finding a common denominator of "good" that applies to athiests, agnostics, apikorsim, LWRWMOYeshivish, republicans, chareidim, capitalists, socialists, communists, democrats, liberals, Fatah, Hamas and the ACLU...is not that simple (if possible at all)

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A moving post, Shifra. Would that everyone would treat people well. I sure could use some of that.

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Wow! That was powerful and heartfelt. Thanks for saying something very important.

At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you want to do good, here is an opportunity:
I would like to mention to your readers that a new frum dating google group has been founded. The idea is to take advantage of our collective knowledge of all the singles we might know well [or even have dated in the past if you are still single]. People can post general descriptions about particular singles with descriptions THAT DONT IDENTIFY THE PERSON but that would be enough to describe the persons attributes and attract potential dates. For more info on how thss works, Please visit


to check it out and read the moderator post. Please post about people you know [or yourself if you are single] and spread the word about this new FREE dating resource. If enough people join it could help a lot of singles. Thanks

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Ayelet said...

Thank you Shifra. That was inspiring, although Jameel, et al. brought up good points to ponder.

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