For many years I have collected quotations written by people who lived from antiquity to modernity who addressed all manner of ideas. I offer the following on the theme of life’s meaning with the hope that some are meaningful to you now, during these extraordinary times and for this upcoming High Holiday season:   

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” -Eckhart Tolle (b. 1948)

“The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.” -Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

“Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way.” -Alice Childress (1916-1994)

“Life is short. Be swift to love. Make haste to be kind.” -Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” -William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

“Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some, and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” -Robert Lee Fulghum (b. 1937)

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common – this is my symphony.” -William Henry Channing  (1810-1884)

“People get better because they want to get better, and need to get better – they feel the obligation to get better. And you take from anyone and from anywhere. Turn nothing down, unless an idiot is babbling at you. I took advice from everyone, and what you see before you is the result of will and study and imitation and desire. I was born only with the desire, but showing up and driving everyone stark raving mad with questions made me good. And I am good. I worked at it.” -Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)

 “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if it were possible, speak a few reasonable words.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

“Life must be understood backwards…[but] lived forwards.” – Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” -William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

“Life is too short to drink bad wine or finish books I don’t like.” -Susan Kelly (b. ?)

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” –Crowfoot, Isapo-Muxika (1830-1890)

“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don`t expect you to save the world, I do think it`s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” -Yolande Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni Jr. (b. 1943)

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“The purpose of life is not to be happy; but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” -Leo Calvin Rosten (1908-1997)

“There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord.” -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)

“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or die together as fools.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

“Everything can be taken from a person but one thing, the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way….” -Victor Frankl (1905-1997)

May this New Year 5783 be one of good health, growth, renewal, and fulfillment for us all, peace and safety for the Jewish people here, throughout the Jewish Diaspora, in the Land of Israel, and for all peoples of the earth.

L’shanah tovah tikateivu v’tichateimu.