This week's Torah reading speaks about the prohibition of lending money on interest. The problem with lending on interest is that the money has now passed on to the other party, yet I continue to receive benefit for the use of the money despite its no longer being in my possession. I receive profits in return for a one-time effort a long time ago, even without any continuing effort on my part.

In whatever field it may be — work, family life, educating children, etc. — we find ourselves, at one time or another, in a position to influence others and to advise and guide people in a positive manner. When we feel we have had an impact — that we have managed to impart positive values, methods or attitudes to another person — it gives us a feeling of accomplishment.

There is always the danger, however, that we sit back and bask in the glory of our accomplishments. We think to ourselves, now that we have influenced someone else we can relax and reap the benefits of their achievements. Along comes the Torah and tells us that this is not so. No matter how many others we may have influenced or helped, it does not in any way change our own obligations to achieve to the fullest degree, to be a living example to others of the values we cherish.

They used to say that what singles out an Israeli Army commander is that rather than saying "Forward, soldiers!" they would say, "After me!" I am with you, I am "one of you." Whatever I taught you, I am doing exactly the same thing myself. We are all together in the same boat.

No matter how much we achieve, or how many others we guide, we must never rest on our laurels. We cannot rely on prior investments from years ago. We have to remain active ourselves, true to ourselves and our values.