Shame As An Effective Motivator

This last week protesters against Justice Kavanaugh came up against Senator Manchin (D. WV) in a head on confrontation. 


He was being interviewed by the media. 


But the protesters drowned him out with chants of “Shame” and “Shame on you!”


Similar to the series Game Of Thrones, where the evil Queen Cersis must “Take the walk of shame” for sleeping with and having a child with her own brother. 


She must walk through the city with all the people yelling “Shame” at her, spitting on her, throwing rotten vegetables at her, etc. 


There is no place to hide. 


Her hair has been shorn off. 


Her clothes have been stripped from her. 


Without her clothes and pretense, she is naked, but she is also naked because her soul is bearing her sin before everybody.


This week life imitated art and the protesters stood in judgment over Senator Manchin’s decision to vote yes for and support Kavanaugh.


He was surrounded by shame. 


It was not meant to be politic, respectful, or open any sort of dialogue, but simply to tear the Senator down and humiliate him for his decision. 


I could imagine how he must feel being surrounded by all these people telling him he was a disgrace and that should be completely ashamed of himself. 


There seemed no one left to strand up for him, defend him, and let him save face. 


I am not saying his decision was right or wrong, just that when seemingly everybody passes judgment on you as evil and a disgrace, there is no where to hide or anyone to defend himself in this mob lynching. 


I imagine that this feeling of shame is sort of what happens when we die and we must face everyone we dealt favorably and unfavorably with.  


For those who we wronged, the chant of shame echoes through G-d’s heavenly court. 


There is no place to hide as we must now pay the piper for each and every thing we did or didn’t do.  


Our deeds are no longer hidden, but exposed for everyone to see. 


We cannot pretend to be good when we were not.


The veil and pretense of righteousness disintegrates.


We are exposed for who we really are. 


Our true selves and our sins are there in full sight and for which we must bear out our ultimate shame. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Yom Kippur, When The Masks Come Off

Mask

This mask does not mean that Jews have horns–that is a crappy and evil stereotype, so cut it out. 


Masks are dress-up and pretend, like the way most people behave day-in and day-out. 


People imagine and feign to be what they would like to be or what they want others to believe they are. 


Like when someone is gearing up for a fight, they extend their arms, raise their voices, bob up and down to make themselves appear bigger and more formidable than they really are. 


It’s a fake out–but perception is (often) reality. 


Similarly, people may wear clothes, drive cars, or live in big fancy homes that make them look well-to-do, but really it’s a great act and all bought on extensive credit (ever hear of 0% down!). 


Others may dream of being seen as smart and the go-to guy for answers, the subject matter expert, or the generally wise person for advice and guidance, but are they really smarter than everyone else or do the degrees plastering the wall like wallpaper or titles like doctor, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, professor, and Rabbi simply often invoke credentials and an air rather than the smarts that should accompany them.


Even parents may pose for loving pictures with their children, seem to dote on them, and act the helicopter parents, but still when it comes to their own busy schedules, they have no real time or attention left for the little ones–because the parents put themselves first. 


It happens all the time, every which way, the authority figure who really abuses their authority rather than lives up to it. 


People are human, weak, fallible–and the show is often a lot better than the characters behind it. 


But that doesn’t mean we stop trying to be inside what we know we really should be–more loving, caring, giving, and good people. 


This is the essence of Yom Kippur to me, the Day of Atonement–the day when we shed all our phony masks–and instead we bear out our sins, bend our heads with shame, are sorry for what we have done wrong, and commit to doing better in the future.


Yom Kippur is the day when all the masks are off–we cannot hide from G-d Almighty, the all seeing and all knowing.  


On Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgement we are inscribed, and on Yom Kippur the book is sealed. 


In Judgement, we may enter the court of heaven with heads still held up high, with the same act that we try to show every day, but on Yom Kippur we leave the court with our heads down and our hands humbly clasped, the sentence meted out for who we really are–based not on pretense, but on our underlying behavior.


A mask covers what is, when the mask is off we are left with who we are–naked before our maker, where all is revealed, and we must account for our actions–good, bad, or even just plain indifferent. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)