I am a humanitarian Messianic Jewish Rabbi, leading Messianic Jewish congregations since 1981, involved in humanitarian work since 1990.
With the pressures of the modern world, Equanimity, or even-temperedness is a rare commodity among people. In Jewish life, it is a virtue, because it is an issue of character.
There was an office sign that read “a clean desk is a sign of a disturbed mind.” Anyone who has ever battled with a cluttered desk could smile at that statement. Clutter is something that most people deal with at one point or another. Some people confine it to one room, while other people let it overtake every room in their house.
In our society, we have institutionalized the practice of gratitude. People say "thank you" without thinking, and without any genuine sense of thanks. It's become a meaningless courtesy, like "Goodbye," which originally meant "God Be with Ye."
Silence is a powerful thing that can be good or bad. If you see a crime being committed and someone being hurt or killed and you keep silent, it is sinful. How many people stood by and watched the Nazi brutes beat up, and haul away Jewish men, women, and children? How many kept silent as Jews went to their deaths? Standing by and saying nothing was wrong.
In recent weeks, I’ve participated in internet discussions where people have accused me of not being humble. I never claimed to be the most humble guy in the world, but they said I was arrogant. I was not consciously trying to be arrogant, but it made me look over my posts to see why people might take my words for arrogance. It came down to this...
As a native New Yorker, profanity is my first language. In New York, profane language is not considered sin or evil, but is simply a way of exclamating your comments. It lets people know you feel strongly about something.
About 20 years ago, I was having lunch with a local director of a large well-known ministry. He asked me how many hours a week I put into my work. After thinking about it, I told him, on the average, I put in fifty hours a week. He smirked and condescendingly commented that it was a “light week.”
Those of you who know me, know that over five months ago, I underwent gastric surgery. During that time, I have lost about 75 pounds.
Righteousness, in its simplest form, is doing the “right” thing. It can be argued that observing the mitzvot is practicing righteousness, and it certainly does lead us into righteousness, but its more than simple observance. It’s about attitude when we do a mitzvah.
Golda Meir once said, "Don’t be so humble; you’re not that great." Humility is a quality we love to see in others, and we try to feign in ourselves, but I'm not sure what passes as humility is actually humility.