Right now we have a great economic challenge facing us. But what is the greatest challenge of all in the United States and the rest of the world?
In the end that's the only wealth, the only security, the only net worth that truly counts.
"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" says it so much better.
Matthew 16:26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (KJV)
Measuring Your Net Worth By Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer
"A person's spiritual level is subjective. How a person behaves relative to his or her society and the challenges of that particular period of time determine his or her spiritual level.
John's story can teach us a lot about the worth of every human being. John, a high-profile corporate attorney, owned a mansion in an exclusive Long Island suburb, a villa in the Bahamas, a Mercedes, a Jaguar, and a yacht. He considered himself a very important person.
One spring morning, John took a leisurely walk in New York's Central Park. His case involving the Securities Exchange Commission and a major client was weighing heavily on his mind. He became lost in thought and didn't realize he'd veered off from the walking lane into a dangerous trap. The butt of a revolver aroused him from his reverie.
John looked up to see a well-dressed man who looked like a corporate executive. With him was a man who gave the appearance of a vagabond. The executive had the one who looked like a vagabond in handcuffs. The executive spoke up. He told John that his hostage knew an incriminating secret that could damn him for life. He had to do away with his hostage if he was ever to live without fear. The executive demanded that John kill the secret-bearer. If John refused to squeeze the trigger, the executive would kill John and find somebody else to kill his hostage.
The executive figured that police investigators could trace him to the murder of the vagabond, whereas no one could trace him to the random murder of John.
John was in a complex quandary. What should he do? He stole a glance at the hostage and quickly surmised that the fellow was probably a homeless vagrant. Why should he give up his life for somebody so worthless? John thought of himself as a successful person and figured that this other fellow was a failure and loser. John deduced that his life was more important than the vagrant's life, and he pulled the trigger.
The vagrant fell to the ground. The executive walked away. John fled the scene with little remorse. After all, it was crystal clear that he was a more worthy human being than the man he killed.
According to the Talmud, what John did was patently wrong.
The Talmud teaches that God doesn't measure a person's worth by money or possessions.
The idea that somebody could be "worth five million dollars" is an abomination in Torah. Also, according to the Talmud, no human being is capable of measuring the value of another human life.
The reasoning behind this is simple. The human being is set apart from the rest of the animal kingdom by the way he or she responds to complex challenges. If one confronts a challenge head-on and responds in a positive fashion, then one grows into a better human being. Because we can't see into the deeper recesses of somebody else's heart and mind to determine how much he has grown or what he has overcome, we cannot possibly determine that person's worth.
In our story it turns out John's now dead "lowlife vagrant" was once a successful businessman who lost everything because he didn't want to get involved in certain scandalous business affairs he accidentally discovered.
The Talmud teaches that there is no way possible to judge another person, to know the real value of another human being. It is not possible to know what hurdles someone has overcome, or the nature and magnitude of the tests that confront someone. Yet this is the true measure of a person.
We know that ecologically one miscreant can ruin an entire environment. One manufacturer who does not properly dispose of his toxic waste or one magnate in the Amazon region who decides to clear a few thousand acres of forest will negatively impact thousands of other people - for generations. The same is true morally. One person who acts in a debased manner negatively impacts the whole of society. Decide right now that that person won't be you.
Question: Two people are standing on a ladder. One is standing on the top rung, the other on the bottom rung. Which fellow is higher on the ladder?
It sounds like a trick question, but give it some thought anyway."
Answer and More at: http://www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/45661/
Here is the abbreviated obit for Ray's father in law:
John D. Gray, 88, of Willis, was born August 16, 1922 in Bonwier, Texas and passed away Monday February 28, 2011 in Willis, Texas. He is survived by his wife Clara Gray; daughters Brenda, Linda, Shelia, and Sharon; grandson Zach, and numerous other relatives and friends. Graveside service was at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 3rd at Houston National Cemetery.
(The VFW was there with the folding of the flag for an honored veteran, and I understand there was also a 21 gun salute) http://www.vfwpost2423.com/flag_fold_ceremony.html
The weather started out cool, but the sun came around the corner, and soon warmed everything up. Jay and I started to replace the "dreaded" window in the cargo trailer. We took the smaller one out, and framed up for the larger one which would remove all the boo-boos on the outside.
As we were cutting the siding, we found another problem which forced us to lower the new window one inch. Fortunately, Jay hadn't already cut out the siding at the top. We took the screws out of that framework, cut off the studs, reframed it, and lowered it by one inch. We also had to lower the outlet.
But this means that we can't use the original paneling either, so a new piece will have to be cut. We will be so glad to get this window done, so we can continue building the kitchen area. The kitchen would really have been in the way having to lean over the counter to get this modification done.
The paneling has to be installed before the window, so we couldn't finish it today.