Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.
Each Yom Kippur we read about the martyrdom of Rabbi Hananiah Ben Teradyon. As he is wrapped in a scroll by Romans and set on fire, his students ask him, “What do you see?” His answer: “The parchment is burning but the letters are ascending to heaven.”
At that agonizing moment, Rabbi Hananiah had the comfort of knowing that his teachings would endure. He had anticipated by 2,000 years the wise words of William James, that “the great use of life is to spend it on something that outlasts it.”