Rabbi Raymond Beyda
People who live in New York City walk the streets oblivious to the grandeur
of the tall buildings that surround them as they navigate to work, shop or
play in their hometown. Many a tourist has stood in awe of the magnificent
structures that make up the conglomerate called the New York City skyline.
If one would only stop for a moment and look at even one of these
architectural giants one would be impressed with the magnitude of the
engineering feat incorporated into the assembly of the mini-city that is
contained within the structure. Stores, offices, restaurants and atriums
contained in a piece of city real estate built vertically to meet the sky.
After absorbing the grandeur of a skyscraper one might be overwhelmed by
the magnitude of the task of constructing such a big building. But those
who undertake such projects are rarely discouraged by the size of the task.
They realize that "Rome wasn't built in a day" and that persistence will
prevail. Even the largest structure is built brick by brick-- floor by floor.
There is a life-task that is more difficult than building a skyscraper that
confronts each of us on a daily basis. The job of building a good
reputation. Like a building, it is a monumental task. But like a building
it is simple if one is consistent and persistent in doing what is right
--brick by brick A good name is something one must earn but it is something
one "Can take with you" when all is said and done.
Today -- when you have a tough moral decision to make in your personal or
business relationships -- stop. It only takes a minute to push aside
temporal considerations and to consider the long-term affect of your
choice. This choice is one of the bricks that will go into your building a
good name for yourself. Make the choice based on the ethical architectural
plans for your skyscraper. As King Solomon said, "A good name is better
than fine oil".
DID YOU KNOW THAT
The one who is invited to "go up" to the Torah should stand on the right of
the reader -- even if he is the Rabbi of the congregation and he is reading
the aliyah himself. When the one reading for others is invited to an
aliyah-- someone must stand next to him as he reads. [Just as the Torah was
given to us through an agent Moshe Rabenu -- so too when we read we have a
reader and another by his side]. The reader, however, stays in his place on
the left of the one standing with him as he reads his own aliyah. [Source
Yalkut Yosef, volume 2, O'H Siman 141:3]
FROM THE TALMUD
The Mishnah teaches that if a woman wants to collect her Ketubah money from
orphans she must swear that she did not collect all or part of the Ketubah
previously. This swear was eliminated by the Rabbis. The Gemara explains
the reason for this change. Once, during hard times, a man left a Dinar
[valuable coin] with a widow for safekeeping. It was left in a flour jar
and the woman unknowingly baked the coin into a loaf of bread that she gave
to a poor man. Eventually, the owner of the coin returned and attempted to
reclaim his money. The woman said she did not know the whereabouts of the
coin and swore "May one of my children die if I benefited personally from
your money". Soon after one of her children died. The Rabbis said, "If one
who swore truthfully suffered such a decree, imagine what would befall one
who swears falsely" and they nullified the requirement for a widow to swear
before collecting her Ketubah. [The Gemara asks --How could she be
punished? -- she did not benefit from the coin. The Gemara answers she
benefited the minute amount of dough that she did not use to bake the loaf
in the space occupied by the coin].
NOTE: We see the severity of swearing and the danger in saying anything
negative about oneself. One must guard one's tongue at all times.
Text Copyright © 2003 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.