We are stretching in ahavas yisrael together to create z’chusim for K’lal Yisrael in these urgent times.
Last week’s stretch of the week was: Find an opportunity to remind your children and/or yourself that “Ayzehu ashir, hasamayach b’chelko--Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has.
Please allow ONE person to share her experience with this exercise for ONE minute.
Taking A Deeper Look - Lesson #16
כבוד - KA’VODE--HONOR
PART 1 – The importance of honoring others
We should show honor and respect to every person we meet. All people are created in the image of the Almighty; when someone honors people, he is ultimately honoring the Creator.
A person with humility gets along well with others because he finds it easy to adjust to others. Being with him is a pleasant experience. An arrogant person demands that others behave in the manner he wishes. This frequently causes resentment, especially if others perceive his demands as arbitrary and unreasonable. A person who feels he must always get his way is telling himself, “If I give in to others, it means I am a weakling.” The Torah attitude is that honoring others is what makes a person honored. A humble person will not push people around just for the sake of feeling power and authority. He is considerate of others and hence gets along well with them.
Every person you meet deeply desires to be treated with respect. If you listen carefully, you will hear their cry: “Please consider me an important person.” “Don’t embarrass me or insult me.” “Please listen to me when I speak.” If you learn to treat every person you meet with respect, you will have many friends throughout your life. Upon meeting people, ask yourself, “What can I say to this person to show him respect?”
When you come into contact with another person, make a special point to see the person’s virtues. Not only look for his good points, but try to feel pleasure when you find a new virtue in someone. A person who masters this trait lives in an entirely different world than someone who lacks it. All the people he meets have positive elements that he notices and hence he will show honor and respect to everyone.
(From Gateway to Happiness, by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin)
Story: (based on a true story)
A couple of weeks ago, I had to check myself into the hospital to undergo tests for some pain I’d been having for awhile. I had a serious medical problem a few years ago that surgery thankfully fixed, but it left me with some painful after-effects that recurred pretty often. This time was pretty bad, so here I was back at the hospital.
I didn’t actually get to my hospital room until after midnight. Even after settling in, I was cranky and in pain. I didn’t want to be away from home, and my roommate had her light on and her TV going until two o’clock in the morning. I was very annoyed at her and answered her in monosyllables when she asked me anything. The next day wasn’t any better; she’d kept me up at night, and now I was extra tired and couldn’t wait to undergo my tests.
After a few hours of feeling annoyed at her and sorry for myself, HaShem reminded me that I had learned that we should greet people and ask about their welfare. I started to think about my roommate. Maybe she was sicker than she looked? What if she had just gotten a bad diagnosis and was watching TV to distract herself? Could my greeting distract her more or maybe build her up a little? What did I have to lose?
I introduced myself and found that she had a Jewish name. I quickly learned that Carol had recently lost her husband and that her daughter who is in her thirties had survived a serious illness. Now, Carol herself had been diagnosed with the same medical problem that I had surgery for years ago.
I was so thankful that I had thought about whom my roommate might be and what she might be going through. I was able to tell her right then and there that I had survived the same thing and was OK now except for some minor issues. She stared at me and said with a smile, “You look so good!”
Over the couple of days I roomed with Carol, I was able to give her both information and support as she dealt with her diagnosis. In turn, she showed an interest in me, and shared her background and her thoughts about Judaism. She also asked questions about Judaism, including questions about the afterlife. I answered them the best I could.
After two days, I was discharged without having had any of my tests. Scheduling problems had prevented them from happening and I needed to go home. Both Carol and I agreed that HaShem had placed me in her room for the sole purpose of the two of us meeting.
I knew that it was also a test for me--the only test I ended up having in the hospital. I was tired and in pain, and it was very easy to continue to see the anonymous woman in the next bed only as a source of annoyance and inconvenience. But, instead, I greeted her and asked her about herself, honoring and respecting her as a person and showing her that she was important by taking an interest in her. This allowed me to help her, and for both of us to become more than just medical cases. We really connected in that sterile hospital room, and I think we both came out of it feeling stronger.
Discussion Question Options:
What are some of the challenges in showing honor to those around us?
How do our own circumstances and self-image impact how we treat others?
Is it easier to honor strangers or those close to us?
Stretch of the Week:
Choose one person and ask how they are doing. Then, really listen as they answer.