I write these words a week prior to your reading them.
On Monday Hugh Lewis and I and our wives will travel to South Dakota to spend three days visiting the Lakota Indian reservation. The Native Americans are among the most impoverished people of our society, and aside from learning more about them, the purpose of the trip is to see if it is feasible to do a temple “Mitzvah” trip at some time in the future where we would help with painting, building, tutoring, socializing, etc.
Most of us know little about the various Native American tribes; their lifestyles and the conditions in which they live. Also, we know little of the wisdom that has been passed from generation to generation among these people. In reading about them, I am struck with the similarities between Native American and Jewish wisdom. Let me share a few passages with you that bespeak this reality:
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. Dakota
We are friends; we must assist each other to bear our burdens. Osage
Do not let yesterday use up too much of today. Cherokee
The greatest strength is gentleness. Iroquois
There can never be peace between nations until it is first known that true peace is within the souls of men. Oglala Sioux
I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. May you know a tranquil and inspiring Shabbat.