Translated: "Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so." In Yiddish, it can be boiled down to a single word: Mensch --- a kind, decent and reliable person, sensitive to other people's needs and seeking out ways to help them. In Judaism, to call someone a mensch is one of the highest compliments that can be given. I am that man.
I'm the guy who has your back. The first to come to your aid, even before you ask, if you even ask at all. I don't ask, “Is there something I can do for you?” I'm the guy who says, “I'm going to do this for you.” I know in my heart you would do the same for me were the situation reversed. I give from, and of, my heart, secure in that knowledge.
Need proof? When a co-worker began to rebuild her life in order to escape an abusive relationship, she had no money for a deposit on an apartment; I provided it. She had no furniture, just a few clothes. I donated several rooms of furniture so she would have a bed to sleep on, rather than a blanket on the floor; dressers to put her clothes in, rather than live out of boxes; kitchenware, dining table and chairs; a living room set, including a lounge chair, so she could come home to what is a sanctuary, not a reminder of what she left behind.
Incidentally, my co-worker is a devout Christian and I am an atheist, and yes, I have integrity, scruples and morals and I live them. But please, do not proselytize. You will need to respect and honor what I believe, regardless what your belief system is, which I do honor and respect (and the proof of that is my winning first place in the 2015 Florida Press Association awards for a series of articles written in 2014 on a church in the community undergoing changes).
I also participate in a program called Care to Dance. We are a confederation of ballroom dancers who visit assisted living facilities whose residents are faced with memory and mental issues, as well as those with limited mobility. There are few things more beautiful than when a spark of recognition and joy comes to the faces of those who connect with the music, even though it is only fleeting.
So yeah, I'm tooting my own horn and I make no apologies for it. Granted, I'm not the most handsome of men on this site, only average. Nor do I boast a physique of a bodybuilder, but I'm not fat. I'm not wealthy, but I do live comfortably. I own my own home and I am free of most debt. Finally, I'm not a nice guy. Nice guys are doormats. What I am is a great, decent and honorable man. Now, am I someone you might want to meet?
If so, here goes: In me, you will find a man of character whose principles don't change with the prevailing whims of popularity. Whose visage reflects all that's been taken in over the years; filled with gratitude to those who have had a role in that process, including the hurts and healing. All have brought me to this place and time and I give thanks, because those people and events aided me growing to know, like and most important, love the person I am and have yet to become and to be.
Three Talmudic instructions guide me:
* Tikkun Olam: Repair and heal the world
* Tzedek, tzedek tirdorf: Righteousness, righteousness shall ye seek
* Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim: Acknowledge and prevent the suffering of living creatures, people and animals, for deliberately causing others pain darkens our souls.
With that, I am rife with colorful yet positive contradictions. My nuances make the simple complex and vice versa. In short, a “Regular Joe” at that point in life where I know exactly who I am and what I want.