People with excessive recognition hunger are so worried about their own egos, that they are callous when it comes to caring about others. They want praise aimed at themselves; they are self-centered and self-serving. They will step on anyone and do almost anything in order to advance themselves and gain more recognition. The Torah urges us not to be this kind of person.
Angel for Shabbat
Healthy societies and communities depend on their members’ loyalty and sense of responsibility. They thrive when people work for the general good and not just for their own self-interest. People realize that if they are to enjoy the benefits of a society/community, they should rightfully share in the responsibilities of its maintenance.
Our home base as Jews is Torah and mitzvoth. But for us to flourish fully in our humanity, we invite the beauty of Yefet into our home. We not only foster a “strictness of conscience,” but also a “spontaneity of consciousness.” Our goal is “to see things in their essence and beauty” while staying faithful to our spiritual natures.
The Torah’s majestic opening verses give poetic expression to God’s creation of the universe. If we seek God without also seeking to understand the world, our religious vision is deficient. If we seek to understand the world without recognizing God as Creator, our scientific vision is deficient.
We are obligated not just to worry about ourselves, but to do our part in improving society and working to create a world in which “there shall be no needy among you.”
As we begin the book of Devarim, and as we approach Tisha B’av, it is important to not only focus on observance of the Mitzvot, but also to always try to be “upright and just,” and to seek to make the will of God our will.
It is fashionable in some religious circles to idolize cult leaders and to refrain from (and even deeply resent) any criticism aimed at these great ones. It is fashionable in some circles to foster “echo reasoning”, where it is only licit to speak with others who share the same views, where it is forbidden to hear opposing ideas and critiques. Such circles represent a genuine danger to healthy religious life.
The greatest people are precisely those who are most generous and sensitive to the feelings of others. They conduct themselves with good manners and thoughtfulness. They are humble, natural, and kind. They do not cut in lines; they pay their debts on time; they demand no extra honors or privileges.
This week's "Angel for Shabbat" column is by Jonathan Arking, Summer Student Intern of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.
This week's Angel for Shabbat on the Torah portion of the week was written by Jake Nussbaum, a student at Yeshiva University, and a member of the University Network of our Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.