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Parashat Beresheet


Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own

Pride, honor and acclaim have an attraction all their own, but our sages warn us that these may be destructive. The frustration a person experiences when he doesn’t receive the recognition he feels he deserves can be extremely distressing.

Some people mistakenly think that they can enhance their own honor by disparaging and deflating others. The truth, however, is just the reverse, when one deflate another, one’s own image is deflated.

The Talmud relates that Rabbi Nahunia’s students asked him, ‘by what merit did you achieve long life?’ He answered, ‘I never excepted any honor that was at another persons expense’.

Why should such an attitude merit long life? A person who is not preoccupied with his image and social media status, and is also not obsessed with receiving honor and public recognition, is free of the emotional stress and frustration that plague those whose cravings for acclaim are never satisfied. These stresses can be devastating, and dispensing with them can indeed prolong life. And that is why our sages said ‘the pursuit of honor drives a person out of this world’, because he mortally harms his chance for happiness.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Shaul