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    The worst or best of times? – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Wouldn’t you agree that this is this the worst time to be living?

    A. It seems like it. We are surrounded by violence, intolerance and suffering. Things go wrong all the time and we can’t brush aside the evil as an “act of God”.

    Governments are floundering, leaders are mired in corruption, terrorists are a constant threat, and ordinary people fear what tomorrow will bring.

    Yet people always thought they were living at the worst of times. There were evils and tragedies in every age. It probably seems worse today because communications are better.

    Actually in many ways this is one of the best of times.

    Developments in medicine and technology are magical. The human mind is creative as never before. Life is much easier and more comfortable than in the past.

    People no longer just want to weep and say, “There’s nothing we can do about anything”; there is a sense of moral vigilance.

    What should we do about the negative things?

    Never condone evil. Even if you fear your voice will not be heard, keep speaking to yourself and never lose heart.

    Praise the people who do good things: shame the others.

    Be realistic: recognise, as Seymour Siegel said, that the world is not perfect, but even in an imperfect world there is still a great deal to be done.

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