Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayera

Godliness and Jewish Life

Godliness is a matter of perception – the perception of the individual himself or herself, as well as the perception of the outside society. Avraham is recognized, even by his pagan peers, as being a person of Godliness in their midst. A Godly person is recognizable to others through behavior, speech, and interpersonal relationships. That is what Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin of Salant meant in his famous statement: “The other person’s welfare in this world is the key to my welfare in the eternal world.”

The rabbis of the Talmud always emphasized the importance of one’s reputation amongst others in his society. “What do the other human beings say about him?” was always their test of resident Godliness in an individual. Avraham has an open hand and an open heart, a concern for others - even those who are his spiritual enemies and are wrongdoers.

Avraham, however, is not a pacifist nor is he weak and naïve in the face of evil. He goes to war to save Lot and outwits both Pharaoh and Avimelech in their nefarious behavior toward his wife, Sarah. He is the perfect example and role model for the necessary practicality and realism of life, coupled with the Godly compassion for other human beings and their physical and spiritual plights.

In Judaism, service of God is always inextricably bound to the service of human society. As has often been pointed out, this was the central point of Avraham’s faith, something that apparently was found lacking in his otherwise righteous predecessor, Noach.

A Godly person has super-sensitive faculties. Avraham hears the heavenly message to leave his homeland and to journey and settle in the Land of Israel. The great Rabbi of Kotzk observed that God’s directive was made to all publicly but only Avraham heard it and acted upon it.

His Godliness in the attitude he exhibited towards others, his self-sacrifice in defense of his Godly convictions, his opposition to paganism and its societal and moral ills, and his acts of kindness and devotion to the help others, all combined to give him the ability to hear what others were deaf to and to see what others were blind to.

He is able to “see” God appear before him and to conduct a conversation, so to speak, with his Creator. That is the reward for and the measure of true Godliness in a person. His Godly personality and home environment transforms the three Bedouin Arabs who enter his tent into angels. Godliness can be contagious just as evil is also contagious. ,

Godliness sees the Creator in every activity and occurrence in one’s life and society. It therefore prevents pettiness, selfishness and self-aggrandizement from dominating our behavior, speech and attitudes. King David in Psalms proclaimed: “I have placed God before my eyes permanently!” By so doing he captured in a phrase the essence of Godliness and Jewish life. A society that does not strive for at least a modicum of Godliness in its private lives and public environment will be afflicted with ears that hear not and eyes that see not. Hopefully, not so the people of Israel, Avraham’s children and heirs.

Shabat shalom,

Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 






ARTICLES ON SHOFTIM AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Shoftim - - Judge For Yourself
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

A Time to Remember and Be Inspired
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

A Wake Up Call
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Everything Depends on Our Teshuvah
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Encouraging News Before Rosh Hashana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

A Costly Yud
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

ArtScroll

Ant-i Lesson
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

A Breath of Air
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Tuff Trust Tuff Love
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Judging By The Situation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

First in the Mind!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

A Rosh Hashana Message
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5769

> Yehi Ratzon - Text and Instructions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Sound of the Unheard Shofar
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

The Art of the Deal and It's Impact
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

One of A King
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information