Posts tagged " society "

Rabbi, there’s a conflict in your teachings.

October 8th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet


I’ve noticed two major themes in your writing and speaking that, when taken together, create a dilemma. These are the themes of income being associated with the production of value for others, and the fact that the values of society are becoming less and less moral as civilization has deteriorated recently.
So this would mean that people who have the same values as the rest of the world will be more successful and make more income. How do we therefore live our lives conscious of the monetary implications of what we choose to provide for other people, while at the same time holding firmly to generally unpopular biblical principles?

∼ Isaiah


Dear Isaiah,

We love this question and especially from someone with your name. The prophet Isaiah spoke the truth, yet God’s prophets were frequently rejected both by Israel’s enemies and by most in ancient Israel as well.

If we read you correctly, you are integrating our main principle with the increasingly degraded condition of society.  Taken to its extreme, we think you might be asking, what if, for instance, society wants degenerate entertainment and by delivering to society exactly what it desires, you would make money?


Easy Living – First posted 4/2/09

October 10th, 2010 Posted by Susan's Musings No Comment yet

I was in the supermarket this morning when I heard hysterical laughter, of the kind that I associate with teen-age girls, coming from the next aisle. My guess was confirmed when I heard a young voice say, presumably to a store employee, “Sorry. It slipped out of my hands.” I couldn’t hear his reply but a few seconds later the store’s loudspeaker system boomed with a request for a clean-up on aisle 4.

Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a checkout line behind two high school or college age looking girls. As they came to the checker, one of the girls said, “We’re the ones that caused the mess. You can charge us for two sugars instead of one.” The checker replied that there was no need for that and the transaction concluded.

A few years ago, Readers’ Digest ran an (admittedly unscientific) experiment where they dropped wallets with owner I.D. in shopping centers around the world and then recorded in which cities the wallets were most likely to be returned. There was quite a discrepancy, more than could be accounted for by chance. 

While I am far from a global, or even American, trotter, I have lived in and visited a number of places. To me, more important than the number of museums, the public transportation system or even the number of kosher restaurants is the stress level of daily living. I don’t quite know how to index that, but I do know that when I lived in Los Angeles, going to the supermarket was an arduous chore that I did as rarely as possible. Entering the library meant stepping over vagrants in alcohol or drugged induced stupors lying on the library steps. Driving meant being constantly vigilant against people trying to gain three seconds by not letting you change lanes or by cutting sharply in front of you.

Where I live now, in the Pacific Northwest, supermarket shopping is more of an excursion, an energizing activity that breaks up a work day. Whether I am errand hopping to the post office or bank, or dropping in at the library, driving around, parking and running in and out of buildings is enjoyable.

When I was a little girl, my parents instructed me, among other things, to stand to the side while waiting to get into an elevator so that people getting off would have a clear path; to give my seat on the bus to an elderly person, and to speak softly in public so as not to intrude on other people’s lives. I have a feeling that not pocketing the money from someone’s lost wallet never even had to be articulated; it was just understood.

My thanks go to the parents of the young women ahead of me in the check-out line who taught their daughters to accept responsibility. As far as I’m concerned, if every citizen learned that lesson, we could improve everyone’s standard of living without adding a single cent to the deficit.


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