Respect!

I asked this question regardless of the elections. Yesterday I had the merit to meet Rabbi Chaim Wolkin, one of the veteran educators in our generation, who was a disciple of Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz and other great people from the previous generation. I asked him what is the educational message that is most important for him to impart today. At exactly the same time a decision was made to have early elections in Israel. His answer sounds to me especially important towards the coming months in Israel. And so he said:

“What is most important? The thing I was educated about since I knew right from wrong – respect towards others. There is no person who has no virtue. There is no one who does not have something special that deserves appreciation. Who is respectable? The one who respects other people. A respectable person is only someone who knows how to respect others. He knows how to find in every person the good point that is praiseworthy, the aspect in which that person is unique in his generation. Rabbi Kook explains in his Siddur why we say in prayer: ‘עד שלא נוצרתי, איני כדאי’ (before I was created, I was not worthy). That is, at the moment I was created, at the moment I was born – I am worthy, and the world cannot do without me. Your birthday is the day in which you are told: Go up on stage, we need you! Every person is unique, irreplaceable, and must be respected. This is the most important thing to remember as an educator, as a husband, as a wife, as a child, as a parent.”

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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