Journal 14- Respect before Torah?

דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה – Derech Eretz Precedes Torah. What could this phrase mean? The Talmud and Midrash say that derech eretz (literal translation: way of the land) has over 200 interpratations, some of them being respectful, decent, polite, thoughtful, and using civilized behavior. Why is doing this more important than Torah? Well, a great Sage once said that “Love your fellow as yourself” is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary. Derech Eretz is about respecting yourself and others.

This means to me that we should always go out of our way to respect others and be good people. We, as Jews, are role models for the Jewish people. If we do something wrong, a person might think, “All Jews are like that.” Then, the world will hate us. It’s possible that’s why the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Holocaust all happened. A Jew might’ve offended Pharaoh, so he decided to throw all of the Jewish boys into the Nile. A Jew could’ve insulted Hadrian and that’s why he slaughtered us. A Jew possibly said Pope Urban II had a funny hat and a Muslim said he should wear a green robe, so he instigated the Crusades.

I believe that we should all follow this verse by putting other people before ourselves. For example, if you are reading a book you might eat around it, but if you’re borrowing it then you don’t eat around it. You should be respectful to others and be a role model. I do this by doing little things like offering to let people talk first, or giving them things. I also volunteer to do little errands. I could do better by not being disrespectful and rude to others, and being quiet. As a school, we could continue with the Community of Kindness program and actually educate us on what is right and wrong, actually teaching us what that means. We should be doing that at least once a week, for an hour or so. I am sure that we would have positive results from that experience.

Note: I could not get this picture to load, so here is the link to it: http://flic.kr/p/h8R2WF

2 thoughts on “Journal 14- Respect before Torah?

  1. Hillel was amazing wasn’t he? The wisdom in respecting others leads to respecting yourself, not the other way around. For more details, please read an amazing secular book called “How Full Is Your Bucket” and prepare to be amazed.

    An amazing author once wrote a report on respect that I would like share with you. It goes like this:
    “Respect means to treat a person with the proper honor and dignity. For example, one way to show respect to your parents is to listen to them. You show respect just by doing what your elders want to. You even have to show respect to your younger brothers and sisters. To do that you could, say, not break their toys.

    Respect is a very important thing, because you have to show respect to everybody. Everybody always has one good thing in them, so you have to respect that. Nobody is 100% evil. Concluding that statement is that nobody doesn’t deserve respect.

    You may wonder, “why do we have to show respect?” Well, one reason that you should show respect is because people will be impressed with you for having good manners when showing respect. You should also show respect because it could get you things in life, like a job.

    You need to have respect in life. If you don’t, then everybody would have no manners. Kids would slouch when they say the Pledge of Alliegance. They would eat with their mouths open because they have no respect for manners.

    Also, without respect we wouldn’t surive. The workers in the factory who make supplies that help us live would have no respect for the job and sleep in. Adults would have no respect of the chore of going grocery shopping. We all need respect, in ways you can’t even think about.

    You can show respect to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your babysitter, the guy who walked past you on the street! You can show respect to any adult by standing up when they enter the room. You can show respect to a kid and anybody else by MYOB and being aware of their feelings.

    In the dictionary, respect means, “n 1. an attitude of deference, admiration, or esteem; regard 2. the state of being honoured or esteemed 3. a detail, point, or characteristic; particular: he differs in some respects from his son 4. reference or relation (esp in the phrases in respect of , with respect to ) 5. polite or kind regard; consideration: respect for people’s feelings 6. ( often plural ) an expression of esteem or regard (esp in the phrase pay one’s respects ) — vb 7. to have an attitude of esteem towards; show or have respect for: to respect one’s elders 8. to pay proper attention to; not violate: to respect Swiss neutrality 9. to show consideration for; treat courteously or kindly 10. archaic to concern or refer to”

    Respecting people can gain you trust, because people can trust you to have good manners and care for them. It could also earn you friends because everybody wants to be friends with a nice, respectful person. It is an good thing to be respectful because of the many postive results that come after.

    I found this website called http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/respect/ that has this whole article about respect. It says that respect is a behavior, a form of treatment, a kind of vauling, a type of attention, a motive, an attitude, a feeling, a tribute, a principle, a duty, an entitlement, a moral virtue, and an epistemic virtue! It also says that “We may also learn that how our lives go depends every bit as much on whether we respect ourselves.”

    Respecting those above you has been a virtue in life taught ever since time was created. It is an action that everybody must use. It will give you things in return. It’s called Karma.”

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