Shmuley Boteach is an American Orthodox rabbi, radio and television host, and author. He rose to prominence with the publication of his international bestseller Kosher Sex. He received his rabbinic ordination in 1988 from the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement in New York City, as a disciple of its leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. He frequently appears as a guest on television and radio discussing politics, religion, society and morality. He also now hosts a reality television program entitled Shalom in the Home which involves facilitating conflicts between family members. He has authored many books since Kosher Sex, the latest of which is The Broken American Male.
Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?
Shmuley Boateach: Yes I definitely do. I believe in humility. I believe that humility is the greatest virtue. I believe no matter who you are or what you’ve accomplished, if you’ve lost the ability to relate to everyone; if you start thinking of yourself as the important person, and you relate only to the important people, and they are the circle in which you revolve, you’ve become fundamentally corrupt and you’ve compromised your humanity. I believe that we’re placed on God’s earth to do small acts of kindness for each other. And they may never be written about in some great novel; and they may never had an equestrian statute erected to honor their legacy; and there may never be 21 gun . . . a 21 gun salute for this little act of kindness you did, but it’s the little acts of kindness that define our character more than anything else. Yes the big things are also very important. And the big, rich guy who gives billions of dollars to charity, yeah he’s amazing. But will determine the kind of person he is is how he speaks to the people he works with; how he treats his wife; how he speaks to his butler, his chauffeur, etc. If he treats them as equals . . . They work for him, fair enough; but they’re still equal human beings. I believe that . . . One of my great personal philosophies in life is that I must enjoy, given my own family circumstances – a child of divorce – that I dare not allow dysfunction to become a family heirloom. I dare not transmit to my children my insecurities, my inner chaos, my inner turmoil; but if I heal myself, I will also heal my children. finally I believe in admitting mistakes. I believe that even though the world will pummel you for your honesty, ‘cause it will these days . . . The president, the prime minister, an author, anyone comes ________ and says, “I made a big mistake.” People say, “Oh, now you say it! Oh sure, after you . . .” That’s a shame. It’s the reason we don’t say sorry. We think that it’s not gonna help if we say sorry. “It’s gonna make the situation worse.” But I believe in saying sorry. I believe in taking responsibility for actions.
Recorded on: 09/05/2007