Anatomy of a Hero

Anatomy of a Hero

What makes a hero? I think how we answer that question has gotten farther and farther from reality the more we move forward in time. In the digital age, as we become more and more preoccupied with the visual, the more superficial our understanding of greatness really is. We have lost touch with true greatness is and it is time, I believe, to reconnect to what that is.

In Tehillim, the Jewish book of Psalms, Chapter 37, verse 11, it says in the English translation, “but the humble shall inherit the earth and delight in abundant peace”. A lot can be understood from this. True greatness comes from a place of humility. Unfortunately, if you think about the revered individuals who are making the headlines these days, they often have very little to do with this statement.

I think that many of us are we are put off by the concept of humility because we don’t understand what it truly means. Rabbi Tsvi Hersch Weinreb addresses this issue in his OU column titled, “Humble, Not Meek”. He says, “the anav (a humble individual) is not a meek person. Quite the contrary. He has many talents and many skills. He is fully aware of his capacities and his strengths.” Rabbi Weinreb goes on to say that a modest person acknowledges his strengths, but he also understands that these strengths were divinely given.

When we understand that we are not the ultimate source of our positive attributes but rather everything we have is a privilege, we are empowered to use our gifts for the good. The Olympic high jumper who wins a medal has been given the gift of agility and strength in order to be able to excel above others. She has undoubtedly worked hard to achieve her goals but nevertheless, she would not have gotten to where she has without divine help. A politician may have campaigned hard to get elected. However, he would not have gotten into a position of power if G-d had not granted him the victory.

We are all born with our special gifts. All of us have the potential to be heroes in our own unique ways. As an observant Jew, I believe true heroism starts with an understanding that we are simply stewards of all that we possess. If we see our gifts in this way, then we come to the natural conclusion that is our responsibility to use our advantages to bring good into the world. What is left then is just the courage to bring light into the world in the best way we know-how.

For the aforementioned reason, the hero of the week is you. I encourage all of you out there to evaluate what your G-d given gifts are and bring them to the forefront. It is in times of crisis that we are pushed to familiarize ourselves with our true potential. When we properly recognize our talents, we can then use them for the good they were meant to be used for. Whether you are the best babysitter, baker, or best brain surgeon is irrelevant. What matters is that you use these talents and use them to better your surroundings. What are you waiting for all you potential heroes? The world is waiting to see you shine.

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