Obama the Talmudist?
The Times this morning reported on its front page about President Obama‘s eleventh-hour push to pass a health-care bill.
In a “high-octane appearance” at Arcadia University, Obama addressed his “doubters and critics” with the following exhortation:
“My question to them is: When is the right time? If not now, when? If not us, who?”
I am guessing more than a few people recognized this language. Here’s the best-known passage from Pirkei Avot, a.k.a. Ethics of the Fathers, a compendium of teachings of Jewish sages from the centuries that straddled the beginning of the Common Era:
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
On the other hand, the same phrase has been used to sell Doritos.