Be a Mensch – With the Jewish new year tomorrow, I thought I’d see what could be learnt from a concept much talked about and easy to attain if a conscious effort is made.
What it means to be a “Mensch”
There is a common word in American English often understood as meaning “a good person and it’s a “mensch”. This much-used Jewish Yiddish term goes much deeper than meaning good person, it is steeped in the concept of what it means to be an individual of kindness and integrity, and is the key to success in health, love, and relationships, at work, at home, and in life.
Being a “mensch” is much more than just a traditional, religious concept, it’s a universal truth and goal of how to be. If you are a Mensch, you are closer to your divine given purpose on the face of this earth. It is a way to attain fulfilment and impact for the better on our families, communities, countries, the world and the universe.
What this all means in practice
Being a Mensch is a responsibility bonded with kindness, an understanding and acceptance that one’s own personal needs and wants are restricted by the needs and wishes of others. It means consciously acting with self-restraint and humility, always being sensitive to the feelings and thoughts of others. It means developing qualities so central to your character that graciousness and fairmindedness become part of everything you do. It is a basic orientation to life, a way of being in the universe, a way of living.
Five basic steps to being a Mensch
- Help those who cannot help themselves with empathy and compassion and no expectation of return.
- Develop genuine care for your fellow human being.
- Try to always do the right thing, the right way at the right time. Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
- Develop consciousness of community and a desire to pay back to society.
- Be a peacemaker in this world when so many are not. ‘If you see your enemy’s donkey lying down under its burden, and would refrain from raising it, you must nevertheless raise it with him.” Exodus 23:5. You don’t need to love your enemies just treat them with compassion as you yourself would wish to be treated.
To sum it all up
This is not so hard – just decide right now to:
- Go through life gently with grace.
- Work to be better with your family, in your business dealings, and in your relationships with others.
- Be humble, kind, confident, persistent, flexible, tolerant, and set yourself high moral standards.