Sustaining Community

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In our Shabbat discussion of this topic and these mishnayot, at Temple Rodef Shalom, Laura Weil pointed out that these mishnayot are not only about the leadership, but also about the community. The culture of the community much be such that they are willing to work WITH leaders "for the sake of heaven", for the good of those in the organization and those they serve. Effective leadership depends not only on integrity in the leaders, but also in the followers. 

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COMMUNITY

 

 

 

 

Either community or death!

Taanit 23a

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Real name
William Berkson

William Berkson replied 1 week ago

The point of this story, and your point, is too little appreciated in our day, when a radical individualism is so often taken for granted. But we human beings are intensely social creatures, and literally would not survive without each other. I am struck by the fact that when you see two people walking down the street, they are always talking. Social exchange is something we hunger for. And nowadays, when people are walking alone, they generally have a phone in their hand, and are talking with someone, or on social media. The quality of our relationships is largely the quality of our lives. 

Comment

I am reminded of a vacation homeowners association I was part of 20 years ago in another state.  The community was having its roads paved, and the president of the association arranged to have his driveway paved at the same time.  The other owners were outraged!  Is the president really in it for his own benefit - is he siphoning off services from vendors as they come through the community - or is he genuinely focused on what's best for the shared space that we all enjoyed?  In the present context, was he serving for the sake of Heaven or for his own personal aggrandizement?

Replies

Real name
William Berkson

William Berkson replied 1 week 6 days ago

Good question. I think this relates to Hillel's "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And being for myself, what am I? And if not now when?" Even George Washington, who was a model of integrity as a leader said he was anxious to be honored by his fellow man—and women. I think there are two key issues: First, is the person seeing to achieve admiration by deserving it, as Lincoln—another model—said he was anxious to do. Second is any benefit that comes to the person not at the expense of the benefit to the group he or she is serving. In this case, did the association president pay for his own paving, and did he let others know they could do the same?