In his book, “A Day – to – Day Guide to Ethical Living,” Rabbi Joseph Telushkin writes that there is a special obligation of Jews to sanctify God’s name. He shares a story about a Rabbi who ordered a 50 cent soda and left a $1.50 tip. His explanation for this was that he was making up for other Jews who don’t give “good” tips. He went on to explain that because of the poor behavior of a few Jews, the reputation of many is tarnished.
Taking this to a macro level, your individuality is important but by your actions, you are an ambassador for— your gender, religion, ethnicity, age, status. If you act poorly, because of your behavior, another may someday suffer.
I am not suggesting we throw folks into groups which result in stereotyping, profiling or even paranoia. But human as we are, think about a time an ethnic group (as an example) treated you without respect. Did you think of him or her in a disparaging generalization for an entire group?
Likewise, if you were treated generously, kindly by another (fill in the blank______); didn’t that person actually bring honor to his or her gender, religion, ethnicity, age status?
In my “About me” site, I share myself as one, however, representative of many. In each case, if I speak as a poet, I represent all poets. If I stand as an activist, I represent activism. Shining a light and sanctifying God’s name.