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Joshua Cypess
+ Your AuthorsArchive @JoshuaCypess He/his. PhD social scientist & Orthodox Rabbi. We're all in this together. #BlackLivesMatter #Steelers #Mets #Resist Sep. 01, 2021 2 min read

1/ Jude's warning about the "one good man" (in this case, about the NBer trainwreck, see inside) is something I worry about as well: when a cause's fate can rise or fall with the virtue or sins of one single person.

2/ This can be an inevitable consequence of ethical heroics. Jewish law (IMO) emphasizes the severity of Chillul Hashem for this reason: Jews are commanded to act as representatives for God on Earth. Our individual behavior can destroy the entire mission.

3/ Yet an iconoclastic mission will often require salient, brave individuals. How to avoid the problem of Chillul Hashem and the pitfalls of Jude's "One Good Man"?

Same answer: Don't be alone. Don't be "one."

4/ The first task of an ethical hero is to make more heroes until the cause is no longer heroic but regular, expected, normal. Even easy.

This is how I try to avoid the pitfall. Make myself replaceable by making myself repeatable.

5/ Making more heroes requires structural change and education.* This is how I know I can contribute. I see the structures, I work to change those instead of placing it all on my name (and ego).

*Two things that #Literalists don't understand.

6/ I think this is the red-flag for the false heroes Jude warns against. Men who make themselves synonymous with the cause (their "brand") are demonstrating a compromised motive. In halakhic language this is doing a commandment "lo l'shma" - not for the sake of the Name (God).

7/ If done correctly, an ethical hero will make it easy enough to do the right thing that the cause will not rise or fall on their character. That's a robust ethic and should be inherent in the heroism. If not, it's a sign this person is a threat to others.

8/ Arthur has a very thoughtful exposition about how he struggles with this question as well, see below.

Since my expertise is in Jewish law, ethics and sociology, I wanted to add my thoughts to these voices.

9/ (PS) I'm also realizing I spell Chillul Hashem "Chilul Hashem" at times. So here are some times I discuss both:

10/ #ReshetKeshet #OneGoodMan #EthicalHeroism #ChillulHashem #ChilulHashem (sigh)


please compile.

You can follow @JoshuaCypess.


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