"Justice Comes First," November 19, 1961
Typescript sermon "Justice Comes First," broadcast November 19, 1961
In this sermon and throughout his teaching ministry, Rabbi Olan stressed the essential connectedness of spirituality, morality, and social justice.
There is an increasing tendency in our age to relegate the religious life to ritual and worship, and to neglect the central doctrine of the covenant which is moral. Let it be said, with all justice, that observances and Ecclesiastical rites are important in the religious life. They constitute the art of faith, and are necessary toward sensitizing the will of man to respond to the demands of his God. But ritual in itself can be a mocking and flouting of the divine demands. What God requires first is that man do justly in all of his actions with other men. The religious man is committed to dealing fairly in his work and business; he is called upon to treat with equity and justice all men without exception; he is expected to fight against any manifestation of injustice to his neighbor or to himself. He may attend divine services regularly, perform the fasts or celebrate the feasts meticulously, and execute every jot and title [sic] of ceremonial observance, but if he does not do justly, then all the rest is just a pious make-believe.
Reel-to-reel tape of Rabbi Olan's sermon "Justice Comes First," November 19, 1961
Rabbi Olan’s hard-hitting words make even more impact when they are heard being delivered in his distinctive, forceful style. The sound recordings on this tape have been digitized and posted to the internet for public use thanks to the generosity of supportive donors and the technical expertise of Southern Methodist University’s Norwick Center for Digital Services.