Be a Mensch

I’m a competitive man but I have a set of rules.

Rule Number 1: Have rules.

Rule Number 2: Follow them.

What are the rules?

There’s only one.

Don’t behave like an animal.

What does that mean?

It’s only dog eat dog when we make it so.

We don’t have to eat the another dog’s food.

We don’t have to rip out someone’s throat out because we feel threatened.

My Grandmother’s way of saying it was “Be a mensch.”

A mensch is an ancient concept possibly rooted in Hellenistic Judaism.

It incorporates the classical Greek ideal of the ‘citizen’.

One is not born a mensch.

One becomes a mensch through study, discipline and respect for the rule of law.

There is human nature and there is being human.

The two often clash.

I adored my Grandmother and if being a mensch pleased her than I would be the best little mensch in the world.

That’s the thing about drive and ambition.

We can teach children to use drive and ambition for the good of all people or we can teach them to live like money-grubbing savages and to even think that there is glory in it.

My Grandmother said a beast in a Park Avenue penthouse is still a beast.

My Grandmother said the pigs that played Arnold Ziffel were rich pigs but they were still pigs.

Neil Armstrong was a mensch.

He landed on the moon and placed himself second to an achievement that he shared with every person on the planet.

He made a giant leap for mankind.

Sure, he got something out of it; but he would have anyway.

A noble deed done with mixed intentions is a still a noble deed.

A mensch must face his beast to transcend it.

A mensch is not a perfect person.

A mensch is not someone who backs down from fighting an injustice or an unwarranted attack.

A mensch is someone who believes in the value of a civilized life.

A mensch learns to muzzle his inner pit bull.

(c) Rob Goldstein 20126 All Rights Reserved

 

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