Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bo -74 Dignity and Respect - A lesson in Faith from the Exodus experience

In Parashat Va'eirah G-d commands Moses and Aaron to be give Pharaoh the respect of a king. In  Parashat Bo ,Verse 11:8, Moses says to Pharaoh that as a consequence of the 10th and last plague, the killing of the firstborn Egyptians ,all these servants in his presence would come before Moses and tell him to leave the country –you and the entire people that follows you. The fact was that Pharaoh himself would come running to Moses and Aaron and ask them to leave. Out of respect for crown Moses did not mention him in this humiliating context.

The Exodus story instills in one a belief and trust in G-d's omnipotence and dominion over  the  world. What does the command to be always respectful despite provocations have to do in belief and trust in G-d. ?

 Getting angry and being disrespectful is ' as if one has worshipped idolatry' – he has set himself up as the centre of the universe. But there is more to it. How often do people say – If I don't scream or shout and get angry , nothing will get done.  The person is denying God a role in the world, he is not leaving any place for G-d's help and assistance. When we are respectful and use non-violent communication we are acknowledging that we don't control people and the world and ask for God's assistance to help us influence or guide others for the good. We believe that G-d runs the show. When we use anger and disrespect we say that we control the world.

When we throw out all the instruments of control  like  anger and disrespect we allow our positive characters to surface . We can then influence people and lead by greatness of character and nobility and emulate God's traits of compassion and holiness etc. We live in the world where our ability to control others whether they are our staff, students, spouses and children is very limited. It is a trusting relationship and our characters that encourage others to seek our guidance and company.  Being respectful is firstly for our benefit , it defines who we are and our relationship with God.

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