Mussar | A Lesson on Honor

Humility and Honor are both related to how we deal with other people. Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?” The first question is about Humility, and the second is about Honor.

Honor is all about giving other people their due, treating them with respect and consideration. Honor is the ability to recognize the Divine Spark in others and to treat them accordingly. As humans, we all have a strong propensity to judge. We can’t help if – we see someone, and boom, here come the thoughts about the other person’s looks, intelligence, clothes or sense of humor. Finding fault in others can be a way to feel better about oneself. Now in defense of judgment, there is a G-d given mechanism called discernment. This is a build in ability helps one stay safe and guards them against danger. The balance between discernment and judgment is a fine balance. However, it is possible to guard oneself and discern danger without judging favorable.
Unfortunately, many of us have a hunger to be Honored by others. We crave recognition, which is called “chasing Honor” in Mussar. Many have an Honor imbalance. The secret to honor is not to seek it. A truly honorable person is one who is busy honoring others over self. Remember, bestowing honor on others is the ultimate honor to HaShem. Man was created in G-D’s image. To honor another person is to honor G-D.

The goal of the soul-trait it to internalize this teaching from the Talmud: “Who has Honor? One who honors others.” (Pirki Avot 4:1)

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