Friday, February 3, 2023

A False Choice

One thing that holds us back in life is embracing a false choice as reality. So many things are presented in a binary manner, and one is forced to choose between the two. It takes courage to look above the clouds and realize that this narrative is inaccurate. One well-known example is that to succeed in business, it is necessary to make compromises in Torah and Judaism. Unfortunately, popular rhetoric is something to the effect of how one can make all the necessary advances and excel in their field if they are held back by halachic restrictions!  This week many individuals from our community in Jacksonville had a first-hand experience of witnessing this rhetoric as a false choice. I was fortunate to participate in Kollel's trip to Lakewood. The participants visited and studied at the famed BMG Yeshiva, which has a student body of approximately 8,000 students. The study experience of in-depth Torah Study for the trip participants was a whole new level in being immersive and exhilarating. There was one additional stop on the itinerary that was eye-opening in shattering the myth of a false choice that we are regularly confronted. We had the pleasure of visiting a title company headquartered in Lakewood called Madison Title. What is most unusual about this company is not that it is a top-rated and well-regarded company in its industry. What stood out to our participants was how the values of the Torah are enshrined in the operations and culture of the company. The company's President in the conference room delivers a class on Daf Yomi at 7:00 am to any employees and guests. A Shachris Minyan on-site follows that. Perhaps, the most stunning example of how This value is internalized is that the company has Torah educators on staff, and company employees can reserve short study sessions during the workday for spiritual stimulation.    The notion of investing in the employees' well-being by providing perks in the workspace is popular in Silicon Valley. Google is famous for providing gourmet food, fitness facilities, and occasional massages. All of these perks are free to employees. The rationale is that if the employee is nurtured, the performance will increase. Who has ever heard of a company offering its employees Torah education during the workday to provide its workforce with a spiritual perk? The Jacksonville participants saw a company in real-time that is most successful in its field and anchored in Torah and tradition.  The next time one fancies the idea that one must attend fewer minyanim or study less Torah to be successful in the world of business, it might be worth remembering the visit of a group from Jacksonville to a  Title Company in Lakewood. Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch.

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