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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2007 / 4 Adar, 5767

The King and I

By Rabbi Avi Shafran



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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Anyone who frequents the streets of lower Manhattan has seen him. He's not the sort of fellow who easily escapes eyes.


Like many who spend their days wandering big-city downtowns, he seems to carry all his possessions in the upright shopping cart he pushes along. It is a colorful and eclectic collection. Peeking out from within the wire grid are assorted pieces of clothing, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, empty cans, newspapers, the flag of some unknown country, and other assorted detritus of a life lived on the street.


Unlike many other unemployed homeless, though, he never panhandles or even seeks eye-contact with passers-by. He just pushes along proudly, a look of satisfaction on his face — and a large, green, foam-rubber Statue of Liberty crown atop his head.


It's the crown that really makes him stand out, and which, along with his piled-high pushcart and resolute gait, makes the security dogs at the Staten Island Ferry terminal go berserk with barking at the sight of him. To be sure, one sees the occasional tourist with a similar headdress; the hats are popular souvenirs from nearby Liberty Island. But tourists wear them as kitsch, for photographs; to King Liberty, as I call the proud cart-pusher of Wall Street, it is clearly a diadem, a mark of royalty.


It is easy to dismiss the king as someone suffering from a mental illness, although "suffering" may be too strong a word, considering how content he seems. But what occurred to me when I recently saw him is that he is, at least from what one can know from observing him, not all that different from the rest of us, only perhaps a bit more transparent. After all, he's busy collecting stuff and exulting in the status he imagines can be gleaned from flimsy things.


Our own stuff might seem more practical than King Liberty's, but that's just a function of our personal perspectives. His possessions are every bit as valued by their owner as ours are by us. And our own crowns — be they fancy watches, designer clothes, BMWs, the latest model cell-phone, or corner offices with nice views — are really no more meaningful in the end than gaudy foam-rubber garlands.


And the rest of us collect our stuff and our status, just as King Liberty does his, in an effort to achieve respect, mistaking the counterfeit for the real thing.


But it's not. True honor comes from accomplishment, not acquisitions. It's not what we have or wear or drive that counts, but what we are.


And the rabbis of the Mishneh point to a particular aspect of life that is a key to respect. "Who is honored?" they ask in Avos, 4:1, "He who honors [G-d's] creatures."


At first glance, one might interpret that statement as a simple good strategy: honor others and they will return the favor. But that's hardly always true, and it is particularly untrue in our crass times, when cynicism and insults, aimed even at people who deserve the respect they themselves show others, are the coins of all too many realms.


The Hebrew words for "Who is honored?", however, might better be rendered "Who is honorable?" — who, in other words, is inherently, meaningfully worthy of honor, honored, if not by his fellows, by his Creator.


And more food for thought lies in the Mishneh's answer, "He who honors [G-d's] creatures." A proof-verse is offered, and it is laden with meaning: "As the verse says, 'For those who honor Me I will honor…'" [Samuel I 2:30].


On a simple level, the verse is invoked to show that since G-d Himself honors those who honor Him, surely we mortals should act similarly. But something else clearly lies in the verse's words — namely, that honoring others is itself an honoring of G-d. For man, after all, is created in the Divine image, and every human being — the word "creatures" is used pointedly — carries a spark of holiness within. Thus the famed Talmudic leader Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, we are taught, would swiftly greet every person he met each day.


And so, the next time I spy King Liberty, who got me thinking about things in the first place, I will try to focus less on his hat than on what lies below it, and remember that he, no less than any of us, is worthy of honor. Because, royalty or not, he is the handiwork of the King of kings.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Rabbi Avi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America. Let him know what you think by clicking here.




© 2007, Am Echad Resources