Living With Integrity

Day 22:
How can i be honest with
others, god, and myself?

בְּכָל דְּבָרֶיךָ וּמַעֲשֶֹיךָ וּמַחְשְׁבוֹתֶיךָ, וּבְכָל עֵת – חֲשׁוֹב בְּלִבָּךְ כְּאִלוּ אַתָּה עוֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינָתוֹ עָלֶיךָ, כִּי כְּבוֹדוֹ מָלֵא הָעוֹלָם. וּדְבָרֶיךָ יִהְיוּ בְּאֵימָה וּבְיִרְאָה, כְּעֶבֶד לִפְנֵי רַבּוֹ. וְתִתְבַּיֵּשׁ מִכָּל אָדָם. וְאִם יִקְרָאֲךָ אִישׁ – אַל תַּעֲנֵהוּ בְּקוֹל רָם, רַק בְּנַחַת כְּעוֹמֵד לִפְנֵי רַבּוֹ

In all your actions, words and thoughts, always regard yourself as standing before God, with His Shechinah (Divine Presence) above you, for His glory fills the whole world. Speak with fear and awe, as a servant in the presence of his master. Act with restraint in front of everyone. When someone calls you, don't answer loudly, but calmly, as one who stands before his master.

Dishonesty and deceit happen when one makes the mistake of thinking he can hide his actions from Hashem and sin in private. However, if one always remembers the Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence of God, he will surely live a life of of integrity. 

1. The Mishna Berurah (1:4) says: One should constantly envision in his mind how he is standing before Hashem Blessed be He, because “The Holy One’s glory fills all the land” (Isaiah 6:3). And it is written in the name of the Arizal, that he should constantly envision the Name YKVK before his eyes…  and  this is the secret of “I shall set the Lord before me always” (Psalms 16:8) and this greatly benefits one’s Fear of Heaven.

2. Man is a servant of his Creator and is obligated to serve Him as his Master, his service cannot be described as being carried out properly until after he has formally accepted his status as servant. These conditions include submissiveness and an appropriate degree of humility. He is not to carry himself as if he were someone of authority and was in control of matters as this would be an insult vis-a-vis the honor and dignity of his Master. (Rabbeinu Bachya on Vayikra 6:3:3)

This is why Solomon writes (in Proverbs 25:6): ”Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence.” If such advice is good advice, how much more so is it good advice when applied to one’s attitude vis-a-vis the King of Kings, Hashem. 
(Adapted from A Letter for the Ages, pages 91-92)
Click on image to see the letter in Hebrew and in English

Daily Sources

Daily Reading

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: Game Theory & The Dangers of Self-Interest by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Morality matters. Not just laws, regulations, supervisory authorities, committees of inquiry, courts, fines and punishments, but morality: the inner voice of self-restraint that tells us not to do something even when it is to our advantage, even though it may be legal, and even if there is a fair chance it won’t be found out. Because it’s wrong. Because it’s dishonorable. Because it is a...

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Bonus Material

The Mentsch of Malden Mills by Rabbi Paysach Krohn

Aaron Feuerstein owned Malden Mills, a textile plant comprising nine buildings, in Lawrence, MA, that employed more than three thousand people. On the evening of December 11, 1995, the worst fire of the 20th century in the state of Massachusetts destroyed most of the plant. Three buildings were burned to the ground, while the other six were severely damaged. Though he was fully covered for...

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Daily Goals

Daily Goals:
We’re living through tough times globally, and we’ll need all the inner strength we have to survive the turbulence, learn from the mistakes of the past, and begin again. The real test of a society is not the absence of crises, but whether we come out of them cynical and disillusioned, or newly strengthened by our rededication to high ideals. Is the age of greed is over.? Will a new age of responsibility now begin? That will depend on whether we are capable of admitting our mistakes, and renewing our commitment to the common good. Atonement, the capacity for honest self-criticism, is what allows us to weather the storm without losing our way.

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