“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?” – Rabbi Hillel (110 BCE to 10 CE)
Rabbi Hillel is a revered and famous Jewish religious leader. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Along with the above quotation, he also devised the “Golden Rule”: “That which is hateful to you, do not to your fellow.”
“If not now, then when? If not today, then why make your promises…?” ~ Tracy Chapman (born March 30, 1964) [From her song “If Not Now…” on her Tracy Chapman album (1988)].
Chapman is a songwriter, performer, and activist.
I remember driving to work in Connecticut in 1988 – 1989 with Chapman’s cassette tape playing. Imagine me driving and jamming to “Fast Car”, “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution”, “If not now…”, and other Tracy Chapman songs! I have it on CD now; it’s still one of my favorite CD’s.
[Sources: BrainyQuote.com for first Rabbi Hillel quotation. Wikipedia for dates and biographical information about Rabbi Hillel; Wikipedia for “Golden Rule” quotation. Wikipedia for date and some biographical information about Tracy Chapman. Her Tracy Chapman CD for partial song lyrics. Oh, and my personal recollection].
Note: BCE – Before Current Era; CE – Current Era.