Parashat Shlah

Reputation Is Everything

We can all heed Moses' reminder to God, to live up to God's reputation of being slow to anger.

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A Word

Jewish tradition teaches that we are often judged by others based on how we act when we drink liquor, how much tzedakah (charity) we give, and how well we control ourselves when we are provoked. And, just like God, our reputation depends on it. The Talmud also adds a fourth criterion to the other three, saying that our nature is recognized "by what we do for pleasure."

Like God, we have guidelines. And like God, we often need to be reminded that being slow to anger is better than acting immediately and brashly. We need not hide our emotions, but merely pause a moment before we do something that might destroy our reputation. May we each remember to be like God slow to anger, abounding in kindness...

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Rabbi Andrea Steinberger serves as a rabbi at the Hillel Foundation at the University of Wisconsin. Rabbi Steinberger received her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1997 and her BA from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.