Without compassion, true gratitude is an impossibility. If we are to feel gratitude towards another for their deeds, then we must have compassion for the suffering and self-sacrifice which they endured in carrying out those deeds. If their actions were free of suffering or sacrifice, then are they truly deserving of gratitude?
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holy of holies of Jewish time. It is that rarest of phenomena, a Jewish festival without food. Instead it is a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment when, collectively and repeatedly, we confess our sins and pray to be written into God's Book of Life.
In New Haven, Conn., when I was growing up, there were two sorts of Irish. There were the "drugstore cowboy" micks, who hung around the Elm Street poolroom over Longley's Lunch. And there were the earnest young Irishmen who fought their way up from the Grand Avenue saloonkeeper backgrounds of their fathers, went through Yale Law School, and have now found high place by the preferment of local politics or in the teaching profession.
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