HEADS OR TAILS?
Rabbi Matya ben Charash says: Be the first to greet each person; and be a tail to lions, not the head of foxes.
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1. Who are "lions and who are the "foxes?"
2. Why does Rabbi Matya ben Charash use these metaphors to describe two different groups within society?
3. Rashi understands "foxes" as a group of "empty," meaningless people. Why is it better to be small among great ones than to be great among ones without meaning?
4. What does the first phrase have to do with the second one?
We all know that it is gratifying to be recognized and greeted by those we encounter, to know that we are known. However, the goal is not to arrive; the goal is to grow continually.
We may feel small in the company of lions, but that is where we have the most to learn. The example set by the great ones can inspire us to reach beyond ourselves in ways we could not have imagined ourselves.
By training ourselves to initiate greeting those we encounter instead of waiting for them to acknowledge our presence, we remind ourselves that pride is a stumbling block in our path to wisdom.
Prepared by Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein, Hillel of San Diego