Hi, I'm Gila, and I am so happy to have the chance to be a part of this community. I aim to incorporate modesty and internality in my dress, my walk, my talk and my soul, every day. I love filtering through the mystery of the current culture to find the diamonds of truth. My first idea I want to share relates to the connection between modesty and another scarce virtue: honor.
When I was studying in Israel, I came to a school where things were quite different than what I was used to. One thing that everyone did, and we quickly learned by watching our peers, was to stand as a teacher came into the room (unless a teacher was already speaking). It was to give honor and recognition to how much they accomplished in their Torah studies, in the world and especially in their personal lives. Honoring one another in general was a main aspect of our learning, a trait we all aimed for. Yet, there was one teacher who was well known to run into the class quickly so as not to be spotted while the last teacher was still packing up, just so we wouldn’t have a chance to stand for him.
If you knew this teacher, you would understand it was an act of humility, not an act. We constantly asked him why he would do this and he said he wasn’t accomplished enough (he was) or that he wasn’t a big enough scholar (he was big enough) and that he didn’t need the honor, he didn’t deserve it. We didn’t know what to say but it still bugged me and I finally understood why. I realized that our standing was not, if ever, for the teacher him/herself. It was for us. We needed to learn to honor. It is our job to learn to recognize and appreciate greatness in others.
This generation is so used to disregarding the pain and toil of our parents, our teachers, those who put forth an effort for our sakes and sacrifice for others, that we rarely say thank you and truly honor those we should stand up for. Do we toast? Do we recognize? What do we honor other than our basest desires?
Thankfully, I never had to confront the teacher with this revelation because soon enough, the head of the school did so.
What got me thinking about this recently was hearing about President Obama wearing jeans. What does that have to do with honor? Now, I like to think that he, like all of us, wants to be comfortable in what he wears but there is something about being President that makes some people flinch when they hear he is wearing jeans in public. I think that President is a role we would like to say we give honor to, perhaps the last (and we all know how little honor presidents receive nowadays). We expect President Obama to look like a president. But, more than that should be his concern for honor that he gives the job of leading our country, of being in the position of a major world leader.
Just like our grandmothers who wouldn’t dare walk out of the house without gloves or face powder or our grandfathers wouldn’t be caught dead without a hat in public.
I don’t blame President Obama since honor is going down the tubes in America and he too is a product of that, he just proves the point that this is a trait we all have to work on.