Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rogers Epstein's Sinai Statement

There’s a TV show called Touch, which is about human connections. At first the show can seem a little out there. For example, In the beginning of an episode the main character picks up a radio part for someone who dropped it. Later, the person uses the radio part to rescue an Italian astronaut's life. But the moral of the story is sound. We are all tied into each other’s lives whether we know it or not. So, it is important that we leave a positive impact. This is where the Torah comes in. Not coincidentally, the show is about a Jewish legend - the 36 righteous people, or Lamed Vavniks. These people contribute to the world by performing wholesome acts that impact others: essentially, they are protecting the Ten Commandments and all the good that the Torah stands for. By not letting the person lose their radio part, thou art not murdering the astronaut. Now, as far as I know, my murdering record is pretty clean. But how many times have we let something so simple in our world which is broken go unfixed? In Jewish tradition, everyone should act as a Lamed Vavnik since - as the legend has it - those who are cannot know they are. We should perform acts like planting a tree, that may not benefit us but could heavily impact others in the future. Perhaps a main purpose of the Torah is to establish a righteous world through many acts of kindness.

For me, the core tenet of Judaism is that it is important to utilize your energy to help others. By respecting thy mother and father, my family’s life is easier. By not pirating music, I can rest with a clear conscience. Though the small lies I no longer tell are as subtle as the pun in this Sinai Statement, I’m happy knowing the world is probably a better place. In  Judaism, 18 means life. So, the 36 means two lives: our own and the others whose lives we have the potential to impact.

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