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A man wearing a fez gives a man wearing a top hat a tour of his menagerie. How could you not watch that?



Stick Figure Vignette: Parshat Ki Teitzei


Menagerie: Stick Figure Vignette: Parshat Ki Teitzei

A man wearing a fez gives a man wearing a top hat a tour of his menagerie. How could you not watch that?

A friend of mine’s boss has consistently proven to be an unctuous and vindictive so and so (at least that's how he was fond of expressing it). He was relaying his frustration at the Shabbat table, and another friend said, “That's good.”

“What?" I asked, "How could he be so fake to everyone?”

“Fake is good,” my friend said. “Imagine if he walked around just being who he really is. At least he gets up every day and puts on a smile and the appearance of good behavior.”

I thought about it walking home and realized that he was right. When we think about the wolf in sheep’s clothing, no one ever takes the time to think that the wolf might just be trying its best to behave. I thought about it in terms of my own inner misanthrope, and how very little I do to control him. Here I am disliking this person, and yet he’s ten times better at reining in his egoism than I am. I need to learn from this man. If he offered a class, I would take it.

What have you guys learned from someone’s behavior this year?


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Anonymous September 4, 2012

Loved this one! Awesome! I loved this video! It is such an awesome, powerful, real, lesson. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY August 27, 2012

Lo Lishma, bo lishma The above saying means that if you're doing something for an external reason, like for a reward, etc., you should continue doing it, for by training your behavior in that direction, you will come to do it for its pure sake. "Faking it" can be good when it is training your selfish self how to behave in ways that are desirable. Then it will be second nature to you when you are ready to exhibit that behavior for real. Reply

Anonymous chicago, IL August 27, 2012

superb as always Re: Fake; we learn from the Rambam (loosely paraphrased) - Smile til you mean it. Fake is ok if needed. Also, as we're taught, though it's better to learn Torah for its own sake or to behave properly from our devotion to HaShem, one should start wherever one needs to start and the journey should only continue upward. Now, in terms of your general portrayal of the BESHT's lesson to learn from all we see, and to even capture it for our life lessons, what an amazing vignette! In psychology & education, we try to teach parents/ teachers to explicitly narrate positive behaviors and values demonstrated by children so that they know specifically what they're doing that is valued, not just a vague "good job" all the time.Similarly, you've brilliantly (& humorously!) demonstrated the BESHT's lesson to explicitly collect a specific menagerie of behaviors & values (labelled, no less!) of enemy "stuff" from which we can glean positive lessons(also labelled!). We learn from everyone & everything. Reply

Justin J. Roth Staten Island, NY August 26, 2012

I totally disagree... In psalm 15, David asks "Who may dwell on Your holy Mountain?" He answers, "He who walks blamelessly, acts justly, and speaks truth in his heart; who has no slander on his tongue...who DOES NOT CHANGE his oath even if it is to his own detriment..."

So, fake is NOT GOOD. If a person feels he or she needs to fake his or her way through life, then there is something wrong.
And this person is not one iota better at reining in his egoism than one who acts sincerely. Maybe if they learn to act like a mensch, they would not feel the need to fake their way through life. It's better to be sincere than to fake it. That's for sure! Reply