I have been injured.
A repugnant robber, without even the courage of a mugger, hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet in foreign countries has injured me. Riding on my reputation, with resolute wickedness, this degenerate wretch has dispatched millions of emails to countless innocent recipients around the world pretending to be me. Attempting to persuade people that his loathsome letters originate from me he peddles vile merchandise and shameless sleaze to the unwary.
He has stooped to using my photograph and bogus stationery to mislead those at whom he aims his electronic missiles. Fortunately, most recipients recognize the emails to be the work of a vile hooligan. But some of you have asked me if these criminal communications are from me. To my distress some, in a futile attempt to stop these emails, have unsubscribed from my weekly Thought Tools. I occasionally find myself paralyzed by a mental mix of pain and rage, despair and revenge.
We have successfully shut down some of the servers he has used. We have involved law enforcement and been guided by an Israeli cyber-intelligence expert. The authorities are closing in on him. Delete his emails. Eventually he will be caught or will move on to more gullible prey.
But he has injured me. He has caused people I care about to sever their relationship with me under the mistaken impression that I am the author of the spam. He has devalued confidence in the resources that I publish. He has stolen money from people who probably thought they were investing in the ancient Jewish wisdom which is the only merchandise that I make available. Above all, he has damaged my reputation which is a devastating injury.
Let’s see how ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that robbing someone of his reputation is a crime.
Although we speak of ‘The Ten Commandments’ throughout the entire Five Books of Moses they are called that only three times. However, they are called the “Two Tablets” thirty-two times.
The reason for this is because, as ancient Jewish wisdom explains, rather than viewing them as ten separate statements, they are more correctly seen as five permanent principles stated twice; once on each tablet. These five principles govern all relationships. And relationships, of course, are the antidote to God’s first warning to mankind—“It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18)
The first principle is that for a relationship to exist between two entities, each must recognize the other’s existence. Thus, acknowledging that “I am the Lord your God” is a prerequisite for a relationship with Him. The first principle reiterated on the second tablet, commandment number six, prohibits murder. Again, without acknowledging the other’s right to exist, no relationship is possible.
Jumping to the third Commandment, not taking God’s name in vain, we acknowledge God’s right to His name and reputation. Similarly, the third principle on the second tablet which is the eighth commandment prohibits stealing. Ancient Jewish wisdom emphasizes that this includes stealing someone’s good name or reputation.
When Shakespeare’s Duke of Norfolk, in King Richard II says, “The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation…” he is correct. A company’s treasure is its reputation; what we call brand. When a murderer introduced poisonous cyanide into eight bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and placed them on the shelves of Chicago-area stores thirty years ago he not only killed seven victims. He also severely injured the company, Johnson and Johnson, by damaging its reputation.
Both companies and individuals possess value in their brands and reputations. We ought to carefully build and protect our reputations. I appreciate the many letters of support you have written as I struggle to protect my reputation.
I hope you are intrigued by the idea that the Ten Commandments reflect five fundamental principles of friendship and connection. They are a practical guide to the relationships that enrich our lives materially and spiritually. This week you can acquire our audio CD resource The Ten Commandments: How Two Tablets Can Transform Your Life at a reduced price.
(For one more day, Tower or Power remains on sale. This 2 audio CD shows how a culture slides down the seductive slope towards not treasuring each other.)
audio CD available by mail or download
This week’s Susan’s Musings: Homeless Hopelessness (Part 1)
I am reading a disturbing book. I do not usually pick this type of reading material. My general ‘go to’ books tend to those written by L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austen and Dorothy Canfield Fisher. You finish them smiling. On the non-fiction front, I recently loved Moonwalking with Einstein, which stimulated my thought processes. Disturbing books are not my favorite choice.
Nonetheless, a dinner companion…READ MORE
Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here
I was raised as a Christian by my English mother. Just before she died, I found out that she was Jewish and born in Germany. I was told that her father committed suicide and that by some means her mom and she were able to get passports (Visas) out of Germany around 1937 or so.
Do you know some good references about that time that would give me a better understanding of how the Jews perceived things and what really happened at that time? I am curious why my mother would become a Protestant when she was safe in England during W.W. II, as I had heard that many Jewish people tried to become Christians to save themselves and their children.
Thank you for reading this email.
Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE