Detourah: The Greatest vs Greatness Part I
Inherent in the superlative greatest – is ‘the best’ – the most (a superlative itself of ‘more’) ‘the one and only’ – no other is as good as…
Yes, the superlative ‘greatest’ is singular with the plural exception being dogs.
Stipulating to the above, for example, why did my mom say, ‘I don’t care if you are a street cleaner, as long as you are ‘the best’ (the greatest) street cleaner?’ Why the need even for oneself or through another to be the greatest?
Why especially since we are all incomplete?
A diversion from our incompletions that could use refining, finishing – even a little once over?
If pride –which usually goes before the fall – is this pride (which requires recognition be it a plaque or self purchased naming rights for $7-$10+++ million for the new Denver Jewish Community Center(JCC) a necessary component of the continuation of completing one’s incompletions let alone being a vessal – a conduit?
Thus, how great is the greatest if its recognition has to be bought?
Or is this pride greatest just a variant of Ringling Bros. Barum & Bailey Greatest Show On Earth?
And for whom is the recognition of ‘greatest’ required to be ‘the greatest’ – Alec Guinness? The Guinness Book of World Records?
But there is ‘greatness.’ And greatness, in contrast to being ‘the greatest’, comes in all sizes, shapes and forms and endures
Lying down for a nap after a Saturday Shabbat meal mid afternoon, with Goodie curled on one side, and Simcha huddled ¼ of his body ever softly on my other side with head tenderly on my chest once in a while looking up at me as I doze off– now that is greatness. That is the greatness the $7++ million in currency otherwise spent for Zebulon (3)naming rights of the new Vanity Auditorium & Handball Courts & Shvitz at the JCC can’t buy. For that greatness doesn’t recognize that currency. Nor can a testimonial dinner, a 22kt plaque (with or without Crest Total™ to minimize periodontal plaque or Lipitor™ to reduce atherosclerosis ((plaque)) disease) confer this enduring ‘greatness.’
$7 -$5 – even $20 million for naming rights isn’t bestowed recognition or greatness or the greatest - it’s a paid commercial without disclaimer.
Paraorthoxically, one implication of being 'the greatest' is the belief one will be recognized – famous - wanted. Note, criminals are on wanted posters on one end of a semantic differential scale with the greatest at the other. And even with a paid for commercial masked as reportage, enduring greatness can’t be bought. And no amount of ‘journalist’/Rabbinical/Federation rationalization ‘the road of good intentions will lead to good behavior’ makes a self aggrandizing commercial ‘greatness.’
We, I – usually take greatness for granted, going unnoticed and overlooked (but this greatness is not by Hashem and one’s companion animals).
Yes, there is a certain greatness (besides and being beside Simcha & Goodie) relative to: authenticity, to owning up to, to being a good guardian when no one is looking. There is a certain greatness in rejecting the unethical behavior of PC (theft & censorship in masquerade), moral relativism, defining deviancy down, everybody is responsible so no one is responsible, playing victim cards (racist, sexist, etc), being offended while upholding merit, accountability (it’s on me) and being shomer tov (the good guardian).
There is greatness in character which endures while there will always be another ‘greatest’ to ascend as the former ‘greatest’ is forgotten just like the new JCC will give way one day to the wrecking ball for a newer JCC and different naming wrongs. Greatness can’t be stolen but eventually in the economy of the universe thieves are rejected for after life insurance as being uninsurable preferred risks.
And that is greatness.
And today’s greatest?
Tomorrow’s ‘to the moon, Alice, bang zoom, to the moon,’ forgotten, or bull dozed for another newer with enzymes JCC
CHEWish on This: Bang Zoom
DeTourah: The Greatest vs Greatness Part II
The wicked are dead in life
The righteous live in death
No, the wicked are not the walking dead like zombies in life (though a case could be made for that contention). What is dead is the material. The material – like the old JCC which will be bulldozed – or the house that will be gutted or scrapped – is material. (Though I swear Bet Kelev has a soul having housed 9 Chavereim of this soul). The material dies – goes away – though no energy is lost in the universe.
Thus, the wicked has ‘the dead’ - that goes away, scrapped, reconfigured eventually - as their God, their naming rights.
A true story.
When world renown physicist Richard Feynman given his cancer was asked, ‘don’t you regret not having kids to carrying on the Feynman legacy?’ he responded (to paraphrase), ‘I’ve written a lot and taught quite a few so there is a good bit of Feynman still running around.’
Feynman did not need plaques nor a self promotional commercial (Zebulon naming rights), he was fruitful and added – even multiplied - living on in death.
Feynman just stopped breathing.
But the right-use (notice not righteous since if one was righteous he or she’d be complete and not here to begin with) live – continue even in their physical death – neither requiring self promotional ads chiseled in stone obfuscating any chiseling or plaques (with or without Crestor™ or Colgate Toothpaste’s Guard All Shield™) as their legacy surrounds and resides in hearts and minds: re-membered.
CHEWish on This™ ‘Naming’ Naming Rights For What They Are
Pawnote: per Maimonides 8 Levels of Charity
Per Maimonides’ eight levels of charity, the two highest levels are:
 To support an individual by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .(this is the highest level)
 To give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven…(this is the next highest level)
(3) Zebulon = Exalted
(neither Zebulon naming rights, nor plaques are on either of these levels)