26 October 2017
Rabbi Danny Rich, the senior rabbi of Liberal Judaism, gave the opening prayer at this year’s PinkNews Awards.
The event, which took place in Westminster, celebrates the contributions of politicians, entertainers, businesses, campaigners and community groups to improving LGBTQI+ life in the UK and beyond.
It was also addressed by all Britain’s major party leaders – Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Doctor Who’s Pearl Mackie, the cast of Coronation Street and Lorraine Kelly were among the winners on the night.
Danny was joined by other religious leaders on stage as he gave his address at the start of the evening. You can read his words in full below:
An incident occurred in which Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, came from Migdal Gedor, from his rabbi’s house, and he was riding on a donkey and strolling on the bank of a river. And he was very happy, and his head was swollen with pride because he had studied much Torah.
He happened upon an exceedingly ugly person, who said to him, ‘Greetings to you my rabbi’, but Rabbi Elazar did not return his greeting. Instead, Rabbi Elazar said to him, ‘Worthless person, how ugly is that man. Are all the people of your city as ugly as you?’ The man said to him, ‘I do not know but you should go and say to The Craftsman Who Made Me: How ugly is the vessel you made’. When Rabbi Elazar realised he had sinned and insulted this man merely on account of his appearance, he descended from his donkey and prostrated himself before him and said to the man, ‘I have sinned against you forgive me’. The man said to him, ‘I will not forgive you until you go to The Craftsman Who Made Me and say How ugly is the vessel you made’.
He walked behind the man, trying to appease him, until they reached rabbi Elazar’s city. The people of his city came out to greet him, saying to him ‘Greetings to you, my rabbi, my rabbi, my teacher, my teacher.’ The man said to them, ‘Who are you calling my rabbi, my rabbi?’ They said to him, ‘To this man, who is walking behind you.’ He said to them, ‘If this man is a rabbi, may there not be many like him among the Jewish people.’ They asked him, ‘For what reason do you say this?’ He said to them, ‘He did such and such to me’. They said to him, ‘Even so, forgive him, as he is a great Torah scholar’.
He said to them, ‘For your sakes, I forgive him, provided that he accepts upon himself not to become accustomed to behave like this’. Immediately Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, entered the study hall and taught, ‘A person should always be soft like a read and he should not be stiff as a cedar, as one who is proud like a cedar is likely to sin.’ (Babylonian Talmud: Ta’anit 20b)
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohaynu melcy ha’Olam
asher bra col minay b’nai adam ha’niflaim.
Praised be God, Sovereign of the Universe
who created all types of wondrous people.
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