One of the most important values that we must all practice is responsibility.
Responsibility — achrayut — is so important for it is really all about community and being a part of something bigger than just yourself. We are all interdependent in this world and that connection makes us strong.
This month as we commemorate Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron, we are reminded of our responsibility to others. Shortly after World War II — not long after his release from a Nazi concentration camp — German Protestant theologian and Pastor Martin Niemoller said, “In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me. And by that time, there was no one left to speak up.”
Each of us must speak out for the others — we are responsible for one another: Am I my brother’s keeper? YES!
Achrayut is also about taking responsibility for your own actions and choices. Responsibility is about keeping our promises, being honest and fair, and admitting our mistakes and showing our willingness to make things right.
Those who think they can lie without hurting others are wrong. But those who think that others can survive without them are even more in error.
— Hasidic folk saying
In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.
— Ann Landers (advice columnist)
Family talk time
What does it mean to be responsible? What thing are you responsible for: at home, with your friends, at school or at camp?
Think of a time when you have been blamed for something someone else did. Why didn’t that person take responsibility for their actions?
When you are on a team, you are responsible to that team. What happens if you cannot go to a game? Should you choose to go to a party instead of the game?