web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


If You Say Something, See Something


Marriage-Relationship-logo

No, the above title is not a misprint of the ubiquitous, “If you see something, say something” campaign encouraging citizens to report suspicious packages and behavior to the police.  In these ads, often found in public places and synagogues, one sees a photo of a passenger with an unattended package nearby.

The ad requests that should one “see something” like the package, they should “say something” to the authorities.

As prudent and needed as these efforts are, the history of the Jewish people is intertwined with the belief that our relationship with each other and G-d is our ultimate defense against terrorism.  So it’s all the more important to be conscious of the effect our words can have on another. In this case, if we “say something” critical of someone, we need to be vigilant to “see something” in terms of the impact those words have on the other person and the community as a whole:

If we “say something” that is sarcastic or pejorative of an acquaintance, can we “see something” in their pained expression?

If we “say something” negative about a colleague, can we “see something” in the way such gossip spreads and damages his or her reputation?

If we “say something” in a loud, angry way to someone we love, can we “see something” in the distance and lack of trust which follows?

If we “say something” humorous about someone’s foibles or idiosyncrasies    masked in the form of a joke, can we “see something” in the look of embarrassment in his or her face as others laugh at our comment?

 

On the other hand, our words can offer a form of protection to our community by increasing the sense of unity and concern for one another:

If we “say something” validating someone’s good deed or character, can we “see something” in the way the other smiles and feels better about himself?

If we “say something” that prevents a quarrel among friends, do we “see something” in the preservation of a longstanding relationship?

If we “say something” critical to a family member in a gentle and loving way, do we “see something” in the bond which is strengthened?

If we “say something” from a place of acceptance and awareness of each individual’s unique role as part of the Jewish people, do we “see something” in the way bridges are created instead of broken between us?

 

Perhaps the most important lesson from the public “see something – say something” campaign is that it is designed to prevent a terrorist attack before it happens.  In our internal “say something – see something” perspective, the goal is to recognize the power of our words to hurt or heal before they cross our lips.

A story is told of Reb Eliya Lopian who was in a bomb shelter with others during the Israeli War of Independence. Reb Elya heard a few of these people speaking disparagingly of others and he suddenly left the shelter.  Some who witnessed his leaving shouted to him to come back and protect himself from the bombs outside.

Reb Elya explained that he felt in even greater danger in the midst of the harmful gossip being spoken inside.

Of course, bomb shelters remain a sad but necessary part of life in Israel.

And in America, it’s only prudent in light of 9/11 for people to beware of suspicious packages and people.  We live in a dangerous world and need to do whatever we can to protect our citizens.  But what is sometimes overlooked is an awareness of the Divine protection we can gain by the way we speak towards each other.  If we speak to and about others with respect and dignity today, we can see a more peaceful world tomorrow.

About the Author: Gary Tolchinsky works at a consulting firm in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he studied mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He is on the Advisory Board of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and is founder of the website jewishbooksforpeace.org. He can be reached at gary1325@aol.com


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 “If You Say Something, See Something”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot prays at the Kotel.
Israel Tightens Security in Jerusalem, Along Southern Border
Latest Sections Stories
Rav S. R. Hirsch

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Singer-Saul-Jay-logo-NEW

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

Everyone in the kehilla can get involved, she added, and mothers can network with each other.

On her first ever trip to Israel last week, popular radio talk-show personality and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne, whose spirited broadcasts regularly attract millions of listeners across North America, paid a visit to OneFamily headquarters in Jerusalem in order to learn more about the physical and emotional challenges faced by victims of terror in […]

With the famous Touro Synagogue, a variety of mansions, each with its own distinct personality, as well as the beautiful coast, Rhode Island makes for an excellent vacation spot.

To avoid all this waste and unnecessary anxiety, let’s break the task down step by step and tackle each one at a time.

More Articles from Gary Tolchinsky
Marriage-Relationship-logo

No, the above title is not a misprint of the ubiquitous, “If you see something, say something” campaign encouraging citizens to report suspicious packages and behavior to the police. In these ads, often found in public places and synagogues, one sees a photo of a passenger with an unattended package nearby.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

As we begin the New Year it is with a sense of hope that we can avoid the painful arguments, hurtful remarks and misunderstandings which have harmed our relationships in the past. We seek to make amends with friends and family over the High Holidays and resolve that things will be different in the future. But moving forward, we may also wonder if we can really change patterns of relating that have been perpetuated for years or decades.

About a month ago, we began the Passover Seder by asking “the four questions,” which led to a narrative explaining how the Jewish people were freed from Egypt. We are now in the midst of a forty-nine day process of spiritual growth in which we prepare ourselves to receive the Torah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/if-you-say-something-see-something/2013/04/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: