Character Development

To Be or Not to Be, That is the Question

The Torah commands us ‘And you should do the just and the good’. This means to do good things. Do you also have to be good? Is it enough to give charity or do I need to be charitable? Is it enough to do kindness or must I also be a kind person? In Shakespeare’s words: “To be or not to be; that is the question.”

The answer to this lies in the Torah’s commandment ‘You should be holy.” Doing isn’t enough, you need to be. More than this: try imagining two actors that are acting the exact same part with the same costumes and the same script at the theater. They even move and talk the same way but each one will still be different than the other. Why? Because each one brings a piece of his own self and personality into the character. His life experiences and adventures will impact his performance and it will be different than his friend’s.

That being the case, in everything a person does in his life he actually pours a part of himself and his personality into his actions. His character traits impact his deeds and to the extent he acquires higher quality character traits in his soul, to that extent his deeds will be infused with higher quality that comes from within himself and his soul.

We asked “Do I need to be good too?” The answer is yes we must be good.


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