2009-02-27 / Religion / Columnists

Point of View

"The Rabbi's Personal Column" Rabbi Allan Blaine Temple Beth-El, Rockaway Park

In medieval times there were seven deadly sins such as sloth, gluttony, thievery and the such. In our own times I can innumerate a few sins of society which are quintessential to our era.

First, an overweening competitiveness almost pathological. Alex Rodriquez tarnished a baseball era by being guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs while he played for the Texas Rangers. He lied before the world on Katie Couric's televised broadcast and was recently outed by Sports Illustrated. He said he was sorry. Cynics asked was he sorry that he was caught?

Striving to be a winner is not in itself wrong. Healthy competition makes the world go round, but by striving to be a winner at any cost, in any way no matter the consequence can be a deadly sin.

Not everybody can be a winner. We admire winners, but even more important is to teach our children that if you do your very best then you are truly a winner. Foolish parents who demand that their children become winners by crushing their opponents are not raising their children properly. The best competition is when we compete against ourselves. Are we better today than yesterday?

Another sin of society is, "a super ego," "I'm the greatest. I don't care how my actions affect others." There are those who have this sense of entitlement and never think of their social obligations.

Greed is another sin. Some think that the world is different for them than for others, "I am special!" I think of auto leaders who come to Washington for a handout in sleek, corporate jets or people like Bernie Madoff who never consider the awful consequences of their actions. Greed is the mother of all sins.

Another deadly sin in today's world is difficult to translate from the Hebrew (Genavat Daat) mind, or heart stealing. A role model with adoring fans emulated by young and old then steals their hearts by lying and cheating has committed an unpardonable act. How will my bright eleven year old grandson, who knows the score of every baseball player and adores his heroes look at them when he gets older without thinking is it he who got the home run or his steroids? Is he a fake or is he genuine? Should I trust him with my love and adoration?

It is sad when heroes teach a generation that there are shortcuts to success. Stealing the hearts of those who admire you is unconscionable. "Thou shalt not steal" is as old as the Ten Commandments. Stealing hearts and minds of an adoring public is even worse. The excuse, "everybody does it" is disingenuous.

There are no shortcuts in life. The Talmud teaches, "in accordance with the effort and the sacrifice is the reward." "The ethics of the father" a slim Talmudic volume of ethical teachings asks a rhetorical question, "who is rich?" and answers, "he who is happy with his lot in life." "Who is a hero?" "He who controls his emotions."

Yes, it's good to reach to the heavens. To strive to be the very best, to be a winner, but if you have love in your life, if you have a good home, derive pleasure from those around you, enjoy good health, proudly carry a good name all the days of your life, then your life is enriched. You have even reached the stars!

Return to top

Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2016 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History



Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio