Saturday, January 08, 2005

Ethical Living, Week 1

Finished week one in The Book of Jewish Values. (See below.) Well, it is a good read and recommended. Some highlights that I have not shared as of yet:

"What Would God Want Me to Do?" Day 4

"... Jewish tradition teaches that offering one's time and one's heart represents the highest type of giving.

"... be on the alert for opportunities to perform deeds of kindness. Do you see a frail person in the street carrying a package that seems too heavy for the person to manage? Have you come across an acquaintance who seems upset and distracted, and is in need of someone to speak with? Do you spot a neighbor who is recuperating from an operation and needs a companion with whom to take daily walks to build up her strength? ... before you rush away, ask yourself the question, 'What would God want me to do?'" (8-9)

"Be Generous Even When Your Instincts Are Lazy" Day 5

"Withholding goods from others because of laziness is selfish." (9) Where are all those old clothes?

"When You're Tempted to Cheat" Day 6

This one speaks for itself.

"Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov ... once hired a wagon driver to take him to a nearby town. The two men soon passed by a field filled with luscious produce.

"The driver stopped the wagon, turned to the Baal Shem Tov--whose identity he did not know--and said, 'I'm going to get us some good vegetables from that field. You be the lookout. Call out if you see anybody coming.'

"As the driver bent down to pick up some vegetables, the Baal Shem Tov screamed, 'We're seen! We're seen!'

"The frightened man ran back to the wagon and raced away. After traveling a short distance, he turned around and saw no one behind them.

"'Why did you call out like that?' he angrily castigated the rabbi. 'There was nobody watching.'

"The Baal Shem Tov pointed to the heavens. 'God was watching. God is always watching.'" (10-11)

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