“Hod” is the hardest one to explain, especially in the Modern world. Hod is one of those Hebrew words whose meanings are not obvious. Often translated as “glory”, yet in that way that people don’t quite know what glory means anyway.

Some thinkers connect it to the word “hoda’ah” which means gratitude. Yet despite the similarity in sound, the two words are not really linked etymologically.

It might be easier to come to understanding by grasping the Torah’s archetype of this trait: Aharon, Moshe’s brother. Besides for his job as Moshe’s sidekick/spokesman and then Cohen Gadol, Aharon is known for only a few stories. The Talmud tells us he was a peacemaker, reconciling friends who had gotten into a fight.

There is an old teaching, attributed to Reb Tzadok Hacohen of Lublin, that insight into a word or concept can be gleaned by looking to the first time it is used in Chumash.

The first thing we know about Aharon is that God testified about him that he was happy in his heart that Moshe had been chosen to lead the Jews, even though the implication is that Aharon was being passed over for the job. Why would Aharon be happy that his younger brother who hadn’t even been in Egypt for decades would see them out.

Because Aharon experienced simcha to know that someone else experienced fulfillment. The fact that it seemed to the outside observer that the other person’s fulfillment was achieved at Aharon’s expense was irrelevant.

Imagine if you knew that by you losing one dollar, the effect would be that five other people would each gain fifty dollars. A self-interest perspective might say that my one dollar is more valuable because it is MINE. But someone who is happy when others are given space to expand would see 250 dollars that make others happy.

I am not suggesting that we impoverish ourselves a la rainbow fish. But there is a distinct point of view, a quality of character, that derives joy from contracting one’s own ego bubble if it will allow others to succeed.

The cliché example of this is the struggle a parent has to step back and allow a child to begin making choices that the parent would not make. By taking less space, you allow the child to grow.

This is “Hod”. It’s the awareness that “It’s not all about you.”

Maybe you should step back. And then see the creative potential that is realized in others, and rejoice in it, when you have stepped back. Because you stepped back.


One thought on “WHAT IF I TOLD YOU IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU (Hod Part I)

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