Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

May Pride in One Another Unite Us

Rabbi Jay M. Stein on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

Mishna Avot 3,10

HE  (Hanina ben Dosa) ALSO USED TO SAY: ANYONE FROM WHOM THE SPIRIT OF [HIS FELLOW-] CREATURES DERIVES SATISFACTION, FROM HIM THE SPIRIT OF THE ALL-PRESENT [TOO] DERIVES SATISFACTION. BUT ANYONE FROM WHOM THE SPIRIT OF [HIS FELLOW-] CREATURES DERIVES NO SATISFACTION, FROM HIM THE SPIRIT OF THE ALL-PRESENT [TOO] DERIVES NO SATISFACTION. DOSA B. HARKINAS SAID: MORNING SLEEP, MIDDAY WINE, CHILDREN'S TALK AND SITTING IN THE ASSEMBLIES OF THE IGNORANT PUT A MAN OUT OF THE WORLD.

 “May selfish pride not divide us, may pride in one another unite us” are the words we offer before the open ark on Shabbat and holidays.  Implicit in this sentence is the idea that jealousy tends to place a stumbling block in the path of positive relationships. Wanting what someone else possesses has a double negative effect on us.  First, we resent the other person and secondly, we lose an appreciation of what we already have. This can happen in any relationship.  How we choose to deal with our feelings can make a huge difference.  We do have a choice.

When we hear of the fortune of another, we can easily choose to be upset, or we can choose to be happy for them. In choosing the later, we afford ourselves the opportunity to offer a moment of gratitude. I believe, this positive sentiment will result in the kindness being returned. 

When someone is spared from tragedy, they come to the synagogue and offer the blessing of Birkat HaGomel.  The congregation’s response to this rite of thanksgiving is, “May He who has been gracious to you continue to favor you with all that is good.” The response isn’t,”Just as God favored you may God also favor me.”  No, the response is one of true joy for another and with the added blessing of praying that the same will occur again for that person.

There are plenty of blessings to enjoy; may you find them in your life.  May they be so plentiful and deep that you never begrudge another theirs.

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