R.E.L.A.T.E - Part 1 Continued - Giving and Receiving
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
Here is another component of respect.
There are two types of relationships. There is the hierarchical relationship, where one individual is superior to the other and/or an authority figure, like parent/child, employer/employee or teacher/student. The second is an equal relationship like spouses, friends or siblings. However, central to all relationships (hierarchical or equal) is the following reality; the design of every relationship is that everyone is able to both give and receive.
A heretic challenged one of the Talmudic sages with the following question: ''If G-d is so powerful and has unlimited resources, why are there poor and needy people in the world? Why can't G-d provide enough for everyone?''
The sage explained that if no one lacked anything we would not have a world of kindness and compassion. G-d created a universe of "giving-and-receiving" so that we could support each other making us closer and strongly connected. For our relationships to prosper we must acknowledge that we can and should be there for each other. We achieve this by giving, whether material, financial, emotional or intellectual. Being in a relationship is to acknowledge that we are not perfect. We both need to give to, and receive from each other.
A great sage and teacher in Talmudic times once even declared that he had learned the most from his disciples.
So how is this connected with 'respect'? No matter how strong I am there is something that the other person can offer to me and support me that I don't have. He/she complements me and allows me to develop in ways that I couldn't do on my own. Respect includes acknowledging that the other person has strengths that will make me a stronger and better person.