Sunday, May 23, 2010

The greatest gift

There are times when I wonder what will become of me after I have passed on.? What will I bequeath to my son and other family members when I am no longer in need of physical comfort or crave wealth? What will friends and relatives think about me when I can no longer defend myself or answer the sharpened tongues of critics? Invariably, there is the answer that cannot be prevented or pondered. There is no wealth or riches in this world that is worth more than a good name. That is the legacy I leave, for good or bad. Wills direct where fortunes are to be split or sent, but a good name is something that only those closest of family or friends can receive or from which they can benefit. There are rules by which we live. In the Jewish faith we refer to these rules as mitvot (Commandments). There are both positive and negative mitzvot, meaning there are things we should do and things from which we should refrain. Similarly, in the case of other faith groups or religions, there are acts which are not allowed and others that are advocated in scripture or by spiritual leaders. These are simple ones like don't steal or kill, but there are others that require more consideration. Whenever there are choices in life which are not covered by my faith, I tend to lean on the Scout Law and its 12 Points. For those of you are not acquainted with the 12 Points of the Scout Law, let me state them:
"A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." The Scout Law implores everyone to hold those values giving service to G-d, their nation and their neighbors and themselves. The world at large would be a much better place in which to live were everyone to adhere to these standards of behavior. Sadly, I have found there are some who claim to keep the values inculcated in the Scout Law and Oath in their hearts and consciences, but their actions speak far louder than words. They lack the kindness and selflessness that would make them shining examples of what humanity should be. They have the power to heal, but inflict wounds instead. They dole out advice to others that they do not follow themselves. It is a pity, but I have no power to change them. So what I will do is work on myself, hoping that they will someday learn by my example. I have a lot of work to do in that area, because I recognize I have many faults and a long way to correct them. In the meantime I will pray that others will see the error of their ways. Many of them would like to believe they are G-d's chosen. They delude themselves because it is my expectation they will not earn the eternal reward they believe they are due. Their names will be sullied and after all, a spotless name is the greatest gift anyone can leave behind.

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