Monday, August 06, 2007

Not A Cheap Imitation

I was gratified by Anned's (I wonder how to pronounce that, is it as in past tense or is it like Man+Ed or is it Anne D - as in last initial? I'm guessing its an initial thing) comment on my last post. I just want to clarify that it was an excerpt from a book. The book is one in a series. I discovered the book in the home of a friend and his wife, who was my friend too. (Here's a link to a post that I recall writing yesterday plus a couple of years and a couple of months. The piece comes to mind as it mentions the dear friend that introduced me to this book. May her memory be for a blessing.) The book belonged to her father who was a rabbi and used the book often. It's a thought for each day of the year. The content hit me as well chosen and well articulated.

Here's another selection from the first volume of the three part series. Everything that follows is excerpted (Heart Of Wisdom By Bernard S. Raskas, 1962, pg. 75) including title and the quotes at the start and close:

How To Be Remembered

A man should choose with a careful eye
The things to be remembered by.

If you could choose the things to be remembered by, what would you choose - fame, wealth, power? How would you wish to be known - as a hero, a saint, a sage?

Perhaps the greatest choice would be to be remembered simply as a man, for the above mentioned terms are essentially mythical or superhuman terms. And what are fame or power or wealth, if you are not happy with yourself? Can the title, hero, saint, or sage be even a partial substitute for a happy family and many friends?

Basically, we are charged with a single responsibility in life, and that is to attain maturity. If one happens to be male, then his task is to try to be a mature man; and if one happens to be female, then her constant endeavor must be to be a mature woman. The real fulfilment in life is to be the best you have it in you to be - and not a cheap imitation of someone else. If we live each moment carefully, each hour wisely and each day honestly, we can be worthy of the names "man" and "woman." Nothing in life really happens by chance, all is planned. A good character is the result of a life well lived. A good memory is the flower of love and firmness, faith and fairness.

The memory of the righteous is for a blessing - Proverbs 10:7


Blogger Unknown said...

It's "Anne D", actually. Thanks for wondering.

By the way, I've started reading the "Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky" by Ken Dornstein. I'm reading it very slowly because there is a lot of detail to take in, in many cases details I had not known before, some of them hard to absorb.

I knew both brothers through my work. I interviewed David when he was still in college for a magazine article, which Ken alludes to in the book (but not with identifying particulars). David was extremely well known on our campus, author of many student newspaper columns and contributions to fiction journals. Ken later wrote an article for me - not about David at all - his senior year.

Both were immensely intelligent, lovely young men. They were almost a yin/yang contrast... David = outwardly intense, impulsive, high-affect, procrastinator; Ken = an "internal" kind of intense, reserved, careful, on-time. Have you gotten the book yet, Neil?

August 6, 2007 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thanks. I got the book and am reading it slowly too, in fits and spurts - not gobbling it up as I initially expected.

August 6, 2007 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

I don't know if I could choose just one thing to be remembered by, and those things that I would like most to be remembered for are, I think, those kind of things that are not so easy to notice - like the fact that I hold my tongue instead of saying mean things, or that I am a truly good friend who listens when people need me to. I guess if I had to choose to be remembered for something, it would just generally be that I made people a little happier for having known me. That might totally be a cliche though.

August 6, 2007 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thanks Shoshana for the good thoughts. When things are true they can't be said often enough.

You remined me of one of my favorite poems:

Not In Vain

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

August 6, 2007 at 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminded me of a quote I love that I came across again today. Not the same message, but a similar one (if it sounds familiar, it may be because it was used in the movie Coach Carter):

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?....Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.... It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson

August 6, 2007 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thanks Ilan, your quote reminded me of this post
Thanks for commenting and sharing that quote.

August 7, 2007 at 12:03 AM  

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