Friday, May 16, 2008

A Statement Against Arrogance

The Talmud teaches in Ethics of Fathers, one should be as clear as possible in their teachings to that students do not stumble on a misinterpretation. The Talmud (first chapter of Sotah) also relates how God despises Yuhara/haughtiness comparing it to idolatry and adultery. Ethics of the Fathers further says in the first chapter that whoever who tries to increase their name, decreases it. Indeed, self promotion for its own sake is against the Torah. So I state for the record that I do not intend in any way to teach arrogant self promotion by calling the peace plan that God gave me after my own name. No one has taken me to task over this as of this writing, but in the spirit of the Talmudic concept of avoiding sinful appearances I speak.

It is the nature of the times and this mode of communication that self promotion is required just to present a dialog. Naming the peace plan that God inspired me to compose after my Father’s last name while it does have an aspect of honor one’s father, inescapably honors myself as well, I cannot escape that fact, but that is not why I did it. In fact, if I am true to myself and know my own feelings, it is because of the exact opposite reason that I did not care for my own honor that I chose to do things this way. If I wanted to be hailed as a genius by my peers, I would have taken the long but honorable method of pursuing the publication of articles in peer review journals of Political Science. I would have taken the time to have written books to better market my career and fill my wallet, if that was my main goal with this recent campaign of mine to promote the Friedlander Peace Plan. In this blog, however, we are not entertaining self promotion but in fact discussing the avoidance of bloodshed, as well as the avoidance of loss of religious rights and property rights for all who are at risk.

The Halacha/Talmudic Law states that if someone who is naked is drowning, we do not demand that they clothe themselves before we rescue them, but we push aside the normal practice of avoiding nudity in order to save a life. Every day millions of people are at risk. I simply could not wait until a career opportunity would present itself, but as soon as the idea was fully formulated, I spoke it. I began to write an extended essay on this a year ago, but I had to work though some paradoxes until God had mercy on me and gave me the inspiration to present this idea publicly beginning as of a month ago. I could not just sit still while countless people were in danger!

So if in any way I went over the line of arrogant self promotion as a byproduct of some aspect of low self esteem on my part, then I apologize and accept the full responsibility for my words and actions and if the Lord wills it, I do intend to make amends, if at all possible. If my words, however, lead in any way to true peace in the Middle East, then I request here and now that credit should be given to where it truly belongs, to those who made me, to God and to my parents and mentors, such as Rav Aharon Soloveichik.

No comments: