* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
We are living at a time when it is acceptable to reveal almost everything for public consumption. Whoever documents and shares personal information - whether between friends, between family members, or even between you and your God - is considered "courageous" and receives accolades and "likes." Rabbi Chaim Navon writes about this subject as it pertains to the meeting between Yosef and his brothers.
"Yosef finally reveals himself to his brothers, after being completely cut off from them for 22 years, as follows : 'Now Yosef could not bear all those standing beside him, and he called out, "Take everyone away from me!" So no one stood with him when Yosef made himself known to his brothers. And he wept out loud, so the Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard.'
Yosef removes everyone from his presence before he reveals himself to his brothers with loud weeping. Why? He does not want any outsider's gaze to desecrate this intimate moment between him and his brothers, a moment so special and yet, so difficult.
If someone writes about intimate experiences on social media, he is likely to plan his next such experience based on how he will describe it for public consumption.
Awareness of an outsider's gaze does damage to intimacy, since during our most private moments, we predicate our behavior on how we will look in the eyes of others, what they will think of us, and what they will say. If someone writes about intimate experiences on social media, he is likely to plan his next such experience based on how he will describe it for public consumption.
And yet, not everything that happens must be an oppressively kept secret either. It's possible to learn from Yosef who, even while he removed everyone from his presence, did not make a special effort to prevent others from hearing his sobs. He lived his private moments deeply and full of sincerity. In such a moment, he would include only those truly close to him, while still not being ashamed that others would be aware of his emotional response to such a meeting. It's possible to minimize both our secrets and our shame, while increasing our determination to protect our private, intimate moments from prying eyes. This is the lesson I learned from Yosef HaTzadik.
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A speech delivered by Meitar Ben Zikri in memory of her heroic father*
Michael Ben Zikri is a hero whose memory deserves to be immortalized. A year and a half ago, at Zikim Lake, he rescued a mother and her three children from drowning. Again and again Michael entered the water to save lives until he himself drowned. In recent days, a park in Ashkelon was dedicated to his memory. Meitar Ben Zikri, his daughter, delivered the following remarks at the ceremony:
"Everything in life is a matter of choice. To get up in the morning and go to work or stay in bed is a choice. To light a cigarette with a cup of coffee or, instead, go to work out is a choice. There are also choices made automatically, such as brushing your teeth. It sounds weird to call something a choice when it becomes a habit, but all these habits come from making certain small choices, often quickly, and implementing them. But there are also habits that take much time and thought such as buying a car or renting an apartment.
My father did not have a lot of time to think, but he still made a choice. He chose to enter the water to save a child, he chose to enter the water again to save another child, and chose a third time to do the same. These were choices that came from my father's natural instincts, based on his principles and values, his love and sense of responsibility for others.
Who am I that I should choose to look at a glass as half-empty? Yes, it's easier to look at a glass as half-empty, more attractive to be a victim of circumstances and to become addicted to sadness, even if no one tells you that sadness is addictive. This is not to say that it's forbidden to be sad and in pain, but I choose to look at the glass as half-full and to continue where he left off in order that he will be proud of me from up there just as I am proud of him, right now, down here.
And if all those who hear this story will choose to look at their choices in life from the perspective of the glass being half-full, and to carry on despite adversity, perhaps we will have a world that's a little bit better."