Saturday, September 23, 2017

Take responsibility

Nitzvim and Vayelech.
September 26, 2017

Free will or in other words taking responsibility is an important part of Jewish ethics.  This week is a double parsha, Nitzvim and Vayelech. For past few weeks, in the Torah readings we have been reading many laws, many of them are part of nation building and others have to do with relationships between people.   We read about the punishment God will dispense for non-obedience.  In Deuteronomy 30:14 – 20 we read that God tells us there is good and evil. We have the option to walk in the way of the LORD, keeping the commandments or face punishment or death.  Later in Deuteronomy 31:22-25 we read that when Moses finished writing the word of the law, they were to be put in the Aron Ha-Kodesh.  God gives Yehoshua the charge:  חזק ואמץ Be strong and courageous.

“Choose life” means that we choose life for ourselves and for our children. We must take responsibility for our choices and actions.  We must learn the laws ourselves and teach our children, our colleagues, our empolyees, and others what they need to know to be member of our society and organizations.

The management lesson that we have a basic mission as members of the organization.  If we follow the rules, we will live and prosper; if not, we won’t.  However, this is tempered the charge to be strong.  The rules of the organization do not have the power of law or the holiness of Divine commandments.  “Be Strong” and “choose life” are commands or principles to follow when the situation is beyond the written rules.  No organization has the right to take your life (physical or spiritual).  There are some principles that require courage to fight and change.  When the situation is ambiguous or confusing, one needs to turn to the inner strength and courage to make it right.

I take this opportunity to wish everyone שנה טובה ומתוקה a Happy and Sweet New Year.  Make this year be one of health, physical and spiritual wealth, good health andmay your machines follow your direcstions.. May you have the strength and courage to make your organization stronger and better able to meet the needs of the members and those you serve.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Is obedience a bribe or payment to God?

August 5, 2017 
This week’s parasha, Va-ethanan, is Moshe’s discourse to the people of Israel.  He reviews some of the events of the years since they left Egypt such as events of Baal-Peor and giving by God of the laws and ordinances.  In the fourth Aliyah, the ten commandments are repeated.

There are whole books written on the ten commandments. The giving of the tablets with these commandments is the moment of revelation of God to His people.  Moshe wants us to remember both the content and the drama of the event. In some ways, they are the basis of many of our Jewish laws and of the Judaeo-Christian ethics.  The management lessons are many, but I just want to mention one stream.  Moshe is reminding us that we have a history.  If we as a people or as individuals do not conform to the expected norms, we will be punished.  The extreme punishment of death is consequence of ignoring God and worshiping idols.  In the organization members, should be aware of the rules.  Failure to follow the most important ethics and rules can result in termination.

This week parasha Ekev. opens with a blessing that will come with obedience.  While do not understand this as a promise or covenant, the message is clear.  If the people keep the laws, God will love us, bless us, and cause the nation to multiply. This message is repeated in several ways in the parasha.  Is obedience a bribe or payment to God?  Can God be bribed?

If we want to bribe a person we offer something they desire such as fame, honor, or fortune.  Can doing the right thing for the good of oneself or community ever be a “bribe?”  Can one do good in one area as a compensation for a lack in another?  Such as does an act of tzedakah compensate for treating someone disrespectfully?  May one violate Shabbat for a “worthy” cause?

The management lesson for this week is in 8:3 –

כי לא על הלחם לבדו יחיה האדם כי
 על כל מוצא פי ה" יחיה האדם 

For man (people) do no live by bread alone, but everything that comes from the mouth of God sustains the people.

Part of this sentence is often quoted to mean that food is not the only thing that people require.  For the   Everything word that comes out of the “organizational mouth” should work toward making the organization a better place.  We have to give the employees respect, honor, and justice not as a bribe, but as the way to make the organization a better place to work and a better way to help the customers and clients. The spiritual well-being of the organization is as important as the financial well-being.  In the well-run organization one leads by setting a good example, having reasonable expectations, and respect for the needs of the individual.
organization food (read monetary compensation) is not enough.