Positive Vision - Day 93
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
DAY 2 -The Business Meeting
As we mentioned earlier,1 networking presents a serious challenge. Sales, in particular, are based on relationships, and without pursuing a relationship we’ll put ourselves out of business.
That’s the given, but to what extent must these relationships be pursued? Most people value professionalism, accountability, and reliability more than anything else. While the quick joke, the box of chocolates, and the charm may get us in the door, maintenance of a relationship involves putting out a good product and providing reliable service. Ask yourself: “To what degree do I need to foster this relationship? Does the connection have to be this casual?”
Refraining from shaking hands in a business context is admittedly awkward and difficult, but Jews are used to acting in ways that require gevurah. The decision to maintain kedushah will ultimately enhance our standing in others’ eyes and add to our own self-respect.
If one is asked to attend a networking conference, he should opt for daytime gatherings, in which people tend to act in a businesslike way, for they are certainly safer than evening meetings, which can mimic bar scenes.
Maintaining a mindset of caution and connection to a rabbi who can guide us is critical.
When we are at home, the obligation to guard one’s eyes is even more pressing. Our home serves as the training grounds for our children and should therefore be a cocoon of love, innocence, and purity. Kids are not stupid. If the monitor is facing away from them, or if we quickly click to another screen when they come into the room, they know exactly what we’re up to.
But let’s not focus exclusively on technology. The window to the outside world is our mailbox. Do we give enough thought to the types of catalogues and brochures that try to enter our homes? Here is an easy strategy: Let the woman of the house pick up the mail and dump whatever doesn’t belong in a Jewish home.
How about the media? Almost all newspapers and magazines contain improper images and content. Even the once highly respected New York Times is a villain that endorses the loose morals of these times. Should we be bringing such materials into our homes?
How about the cleaning help? Do we insist that she dress properly, or better yet, wear the modest maid’s uniform that we bought for her? It may be uncomfortable to ask her to do so, and there may be some hesitation and perhaps hostility on her part when we ask, but chances are she’ll give in, because she needs the money and the next employer is going to make the same condition anyway (we hope!).
Realistically, most people need Internet access on a pretty regular basis; but we must ask ourselves, “Do we really need it in our home?” Without unremitting vigilance, Internet access in one’s home can change the whole family dynamic. Internet is not the same as the once ubiquitous “box” (TV), because it is not used just for entertainment;
but in very many ways it presents a much greater menace. See Chapter 2 for an eye-opening discussion on the dangers posed by the Internet. Obviously if one does bring it into the home, the need for a stringent filter and/or reporting software is critical.
Where? If we would be embarrassed to tell our rav where we’re headed for vacation, then that’s probably a place we should not be going to.
With whom? The easy, relaxed atmosphere of vacation should be shared exclusively with one’s own spouse and not with unrelated couples.
The bungalow experience is a great battery-recharger. But it can create unseemly situations for anyone with a sense of kedushah. Mixed groups sitting together on the lawn are symptomatic of the problem. This issue has to be faced and dealt with.