Seneca - Letter #18: On Festivals and Fasting (Part 2)


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Seneca's Letter #18 (pp.92-96)
Yeshayahu 58:1-10
Cry out with a powerful voice, do not restrain yourself; raise your voice like a shofar – proclaim to My people their willful sins, to the House of Jacob their transgressions. They [pretend to] seek Me every day and to desire to know My ways, like a nation that acts righteously and has not forsaken the justice of its God; they inquire of Me about the laws of justice, as if they desire the nearness of God, [asking,] "Why did we fast and You did not see? Why did we afflict our souls and You did not know?" Behold - on your fast day you seek out personal gain and you extort all your debts. Because you fast for grievance and strife, to strike with a wicked fist; you do not fast as befits this day, to make your voice heard above. Can such be the fast I choose, a day when man merely afflicts himself? Can it be merely bowing one's head like a bulrush and spreading sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast and a day of favor to Hashem? Surely, this is the fast I choose: to break open the shackles of wickedness, to undo the bonds of injustice, and to let the oppressed go free, and annul all perversion [of justice]. Surely you should break your bread for the hungry, and bring the moaning poor [to your home]; when you see a naked person, clothe him; and do not hide yourself from your kin. Then your light will burst out like the dawn and your healing will speedily sprout; your righteous deed will precede you and the glory of Hashem will gather you in. Then you will call out and Hashem will respond; you will cry out and He will say, "Here I am!" If you remove from your midst perversion [of justice], finger-pointing, and evil speech, and offer your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul; then your light will shine [even] in the darkness, and your deepest gloom will be like the noon.

Aurelius – Meditations 10:16
Stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.
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Farquharson translation of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Gummere translation of Letters from a Stoic Master (Seneca)
Long translation of The Discourses of Epictetus
Carter translation of The Enchiridion (Handbook) of Epictetus
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