There is a story said about the great sage, the Baal Shem Tov, who was one of the founders of spiritual Judaism. The Rabbi was asked, “Would you be trusted with 1 million rubles in cash to guard and watch, if it were untraceable and no one would know if you stole it?” To which he responded, “I hope so, yet I wouldn’t put myself in such a circumstance”.

In my life, fear of man has been greater than fear of God. I hate using the word fear, since when it comes to man, it is fear that keeps me on the straight and narrow. I don’t want to go to jail, and I don’t want to be seen as a bad person– what others think of me is very important. Yet, when it comes to my creator, my higher power, the entity I choose to call Hashem, I want to be in awe. I want to feel such devotion and love from God and towards God that I know the guidance is divine. Why would I want to behave in a way that isn’t becoming of me or would hurt that relationship?

The area that seems most challenging for many people is behavior with money. If asked, most people are honest when it comes to money. Yet, when we dig deeper, we find the power of fooling ourselves. When we work for others, how much time are we wasting? That would be a form of stealing, yet how often do we steal time? How often do we pretend to pay attention and when asked, “Did you hear what I said”, the answer is yes, even though the truth is no? How often do we ask others to say we’re not home when we don’t want to deal with the person at the door or on the phone? How often, when asked to lend money, do we say “I don’t have it” instead of “I don’t want to”?

The question is, how do we find a way to act truly in congruence with our beliefs or who we claim we are?

I think the first piece is awareness and clarity. Digging deeper, let’s start with the easy parts; let’s pay attention when we fib, and pay attention to when we aren’t paying attention– no pun intended. Let’s be honest with our time and how we treat others’ time. Let’s not say we are busy when asked to do something that we don’t want to do; let’s just be willing to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to”. I’m not suggesting we be hurtful towards others, I’m just hoping we can be radically honest with ourselves.

This week, let’s take a walk and ask ourselves, where can I be more honest with myself and others? Where am I being fearful of showing my vulnerability?

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love


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