web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Should We Really Care What The World Thinks About Us?

Freiman-092013

According to the Midrash, it is impossible for Yisrael as a nation to find full favor in the eyes of the other nations of the world. Since the time of Yaakov and Eisav, we have suffered the world’s wrath by way of persecutions and expulsions – there is virtually no nation in the world that does not have Jewish blood in its soil. I once read about a single Jewish-owned property in Poland that due to the ebbs and tides of persecution, in 600 years had been snatched by various anti-Semitic governments no less than three times.

The question we must ask is as follows: How can we have a global effect on the world if they really do not wish us well. How can we really influence them if the hatred is so deep and widespread?

The task is definitely very difficult, but are we really trying?

This summer I was in the Wal-Mart in Monticello, New York.  The lane I was checking out in was designated for 12 items or less. The store was packed and the lines were very long. It was the beginning of July when our community migrates en masse to the cooler Catskill climate, and the initial food and accessories shopping can be quite large. Most of the individuals on line in the express lane were local residents who were there to purchase a loaf of bread or some small items for dinner. The regular lines were long, and it would have taken over an hour for me to get to the register; I was relieved that I only had a couple of items and could wait in the quicker express lane.

The woman at the head of my line was Jewish, obvious from the Hebrew writing on her shirt and from the Mickey Mouse leather yarmulka on her child’s head. I was contemplating the inner thoughts of the locals upon seeing the swarm of Jews enter their usually quiet store. During the year, the Wal-Mart is practically empty. One could park near the front door, the shelves are well stocked and there are never lines at the registers. At the beginning of the summer, the parking lot fills up with newer model leased cars, the shelves are bare, and the lines are usually long. Even though our presence most certainly boosts the local economy, there are many locals who are disrupted by the swarm of the boisterous city folk.  The Jewish lady at the head of the line put her seven items on the counter before motioning to her daughter who was hovering nearby with an overflowing cart. The lady began moving the items from the shopping cart to the small express belt with a smile to the cashier and a sly, “I am sure you don’t mind, right?” What was he to say? But as the express line backed up to almost 20 people deep, I squirmed with embarrassment as the woman ahead of me turned to me, an obviously Jewish man behind her, and said, “Who do these Jews think they are?”

The answer is that we are the descendants of our holy forefathers, and we have been given the task to sanctify Hashem’s name with our actions. We are endowed with the responsibility of being examples to the world of what the beauty of Torah can bring to one’s life. That is the essence of kiddush Hashem, or sanctification of G-d’s name. Our forefather Avraham’s impact transformed the world from a predominantly idol worshipping culture to one with a greater recognition of Hashem. Avraham’s greatest teaching method was his genuine chesed, his giving to others with tremendous self-sacrifice. When a person sees that another person cares so much about him, he will want to see what caused this person to be so righteous. The result is influencing others to respect the Torah and its laws which create an intricate web of positive interpersonal relationships. Avraham’s example makes it clear that if we act towards others with kindness and respect, a kiddush Hashem is made and the world around us is impacted in a positive way.

Returning to Wal-Mart…

I went to the parking lot and saw the Jewish lady loading her car. I approached and asked her what she had been thinking.  She said that the “trick” she used is usually very effective in saving her time in the checkout line. I questioned whether she ever considered the fact that she was stealing time from other people, or, even worse, making a public chilul Hashem — desecration of G-d’s name. Her response: If others aren’t smart enough to think of this trick, then it is their problem. We are in a “survival of the fittest world,” she stated, and the smartest ones are those who will win. I suggested that performing such “tricks” while wearing a shirt with Hebrew writing and with her son wearing a Mickey Mouse clad yarmulka generates a bad name for the nation that she represents and the holy Torah that is our guide. I would have liked to tell my unreceptive audience that being “smarter” does not make a kiddush Hashem; only through honesty and kindness can we gain respect in the eyes of the nations of the world… and only those who practice that are the true “winners.”

About the Author: Rabbi Gil Frieman is the pulpit Rabbi of Jewish Center Nachlat Zion, the home of Ohr Naava. He is certified as a shochet, sofer, and has given lectures in the United States, Canada, and throughout Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Frieman is currently the American Director of seminaries Darchei Binah, Afikei Torah, and Chochmas Lev in Eretz Yisroel, and teaches in Nefesh High School, Camp Tubby during the summers, and lectures weekly at Ohr Naava. In addition, Rabbi Frieman teaches all tracks in Ateres Naava Seminary. He is a highly anticipated speaker on TorahAnytime.com where he speaks live most Wednesday nights at 9:00pm EST.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Should We Really Care What The World Thinks About Us?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Rami Levy in one of his supermarkets.
Rami Levy Quietly Helping Families of the Fallen
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Rabbi Gil Frieman
Freiman-092013

While we wish the nations of the world success and prosperity, we realize that this feeling has not always been reciprocated.

Torah-Anytime-logo

I watch my children use blocks to build a large structure, observing the trepidation with which they add each block. As the structure becomes larger there is a greater risk of it collapsing, thus bringing an end to an hour of playful labor. I anticipate what will happen when one child adds a block to the top floor, compromising the integrity of the building and resulting in the collapse of the entire structure. The argument that ensues is predictable, as each child blames the other for “ruining” the fun. As an adult, I wonder about the need to attribute blame. Will assigning blame be instrumental in rebuilding the structure?

Kids today… that’s not the way we behaved when we were younger!! That is the mantra I hear repeated as parents bemoan the spoiled nature and lack of responsibility of today’s children. The problem is – it is not a fair comparison.

My family and I had recently enjoyed an outing to the bowling alley, courtesy of our friend, the owner. Children of all ages enjoy this weatherproof sport, and even preschoolers can easily score strike after strike as bumpers support the heavy ball as it creeps its way towards the pins at the end of the lane.

We all yearn to feel that we are part of something special. We all seek respect and acceptance for simply being who we are.

A congregant once told me that he was spending a large amount of time trying to explain Judaism to a coworker. His colleague thought that all Jewish holidays had the same theme, and he proudly summarized this theme at his family’s two-minute Seder: “They tried to kill us, Hashem saved us, we won, now let’s eat!!” He proudly bragged that this sentence was the family’s personal, abbreviated Haggadah.

Many trees upstate were damaged by the hurricane that swept through the East Coast at the end of last summer, and I was involved in finding the safest equipment to clean up the mess. I love trees and found the chore of cutting them down very difficult, especially knowing that the stately 60 year old trees would be impossible to replace. Even though we planted new trees, I don’t know whether I will be there to enjoy these new saplings when they are 60 years old.

I rarely take the extended warranty when purchasing new electronics. I figure that this warranty must not be worth much if they feel the need to pressure me into buying it. They must know what I have learned the hard way: there is no such thing as a real guarantee. In my more naive days, I purchased this “peace of mind,” as they call it, but never cashed in. Usually, by the time the item broke, I had forgotten about the extended warranty and purchased a replacement.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/should-we-really-care-what-the-world-thinks-about-us/2013/09/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: