Respect for Others

The Rabbi’s Gift was written in 1979 by Father Francis Dorff.  The story came to him as he was walking in the woods behind the Abbey where he lived.  The story goes like this:  An Abbey that once flourished had fallen upon hard times.  The remaining monks were quarrelsome, and no young man wanted to join the monastery.

One day, one of the monks decided to talk with a Rabbi who lived in a hut behind the monastery.  As the monk described the plight of the monastery, the Rabbi had just one comment:  “The Messiah is among you.”

When the monk returned to the monastery, he shared his experience with the Rabbi with the other monks.  They were confused.  Could one of them actually be the Messiah?  As the days went forward, the monks started treating each other with newfound respect.  The monastery was transformed, and young men again saw the life of a monk as a fulfilling life’s purpose.

How might you react if you had heard a similar story?  Would you start viewing others differently?  Would you see the value in every person you met?  Just think what a gift that would be to your relationship with others and to your own peace of mind.

When we show a lack of respect for others, we are in effect saying we are better than them.  That attitude may be satisfying to our ego, but it downgrades our soul.

Respect for others can spread like a virus.  We tend to reciprocate respect shown to us by showing respect for others.  When we respect others, they in turn share our respect with others.  In today’s world of social media, sharing a message of respect can be an example of sharing the Rabbi’s gift with others.

Lack of respect can often have deep roots based upon racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and other perceived differences.  We can have “elephant memories” where respect is concerned.  What would our society look like if we had a delete/trash feature on our emotions that allows us to get rid of harmful attitudes towards others?  How can we develop a genuine respect for others, not because that’s what we are supposed to do, but rather because we have a genuine, deeply held respect for all human kind?  And how might our national leaders become models of respecting others?

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Just imagine what our world would be like if each of us would share the story of the Rabbi’s gift with others.

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.