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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Protecting G-d's Reputation

Daf Yomi Kesubos 41

What’s the best way to sell clothing?  Everyone in the industry knows that your best PR people are celebrities.  You get a movie-star to wear a dress or a suit on the red carpet and suddenly everyone wants to have that dress. 

Who is the best person to wear your fashion line?  Top actors and actresses?  Platinum-selling musicians?  No.  The most powerful fashion-leader on the planet is Princess Kate.  Ordinary people know that your average pop culture celebrity dresses in a certain way that is unbecoming and inappropriate for respectable, decent human beings.  As a princess, however, Kate always makes sure to wear the finest clothing, in the most dignified, honourable way possible. 

The Mishnah states: One who says, ‘I seduced Bob’s daughter,’ is liable to pay for embarrassment and tainting due to his own admission.  However, he does not pay the fine.
The Gemara notes: Our Mishnah does not accord with the following view.
The Beraisa states: Rabbi Shimon ben Judah taught in the name of Rabbi Shimon: He is not even liable to pay for embarrassment and tainting due to his own admission, since he is not believed to taint the reputation of another man’s daughter.

Rabbi Papa asked Abaye, ‘What if she is okay with it?’
He replied, ‘Maybe her father isn’t okay with it.’
‘But what if her father is okay with it?’
‘Maybe there are other family members who aren’t okay with it.’
‘But what if the family is okay with it?’
The Gemara concludes: ‘It is impossible that there is no one even overseas who doesn’t care.’

There are four basic necessities in life: food, clothing, shelter, and love.  When a person feels that nobody loves them or cares about them, they are prone to turning to the worst behaviours imaginable.  Why bother living up to certain standards when nobody loves you?  Why should you bother about your reputation when nobody cares?

I have spoken to mental-health patients in hospital who were in the depths of despair.  At the bottom of their issues was often a feeling that nobody loved them in this world.  And so what difference did their choices in life make? 

Listen to the words of the Talmud: It’s impossible that nobody at all cares!  You know who cares about you even if you feel that everyone else has forsaken you?  Your Father in Heaven.   He cares.  He loves you deeply.  You are His prince or princess.  And He values your actions and reputation. 

All too often we turn to inappropriate behaviour, language or mode of dress because we don’t think much of ourselves.   We’ve all seen people who look, act, or talk ‘trashy.’  That’s because they’ve degenerated to a level in life where they feel nobody cares about them and they’ll take whatever love and attention they can grab onto.

But you are a prince!  You are a princess!  Just like Princess Kate who is admired by all for the way she carries herself, knowing full well that the reputation of the royal family is at stake, you too must know that you are loved and cherished by your Father, the King of Kings.  Even when you think nobody else in your life cares, know that as a child of the Almighty, you have a reputation to protect!

That must express itself in how you dress, how you speak, how you act.  You represent your Father, the King, and you must always make Him proud!  He cares about your reputation, because your reputation reflects upon His reputation, as your Father!

You are a child of the Almighty, the King of Kings.  Dress like a princess!  Act like a prince!  Talk like a princess!  May you merit maintaining the finest, untarnished reputation for yourself and for your Father in Heaven!