Jan. 21, 2021

Congressman Ritchie Torres on Proverbs 18:24 – “Friendship: Recognizing Divinity in Others”

Newly elected Congressman, Ritchie Torres, is Mark’s very special guest this week. A product of public housing, public schools, and public hospitals in the Bronx, Ritchie went on to become the youngest elected official in New York City in 2013, and he now serves as the Congressman for New York's 15th Congressional District. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark today is Proverbs 18:24. Their conversation begins with Ritchie reciting the selected passage and exploring the need for, and nature of, friendship which it conveys. From there, he and Mark discuss many aspects of friendship including its role in politics, Aristotle’s categories of friendship, Ritchie’s greatest mentor and friend, and choosing a good friend. They also look at social media’s impact upon friendships, the resulting generational differences, the polarization of politics these days, and living with magnanimity. Ritchie draws the episode to a close by sharing the reasons behind his great friendship with the Jewish people and, of course, the lessons about humankind which he has learned. Intelligent, thoughtful, and intellectually honest, Ritchie Torres demonstrates a courageous and profoundly decent approach to politics, clearly inspired by this instructive text’s lessons regarding acquiring devoted friends, and provides some sorely needed hope for the American people he has so proudly committed to serve. Episode Highlights:  · Ritchie’s reading of the passage and its significance for him · The need for, and nature of, friendship · His experience with friendship in politics · Aristotle’s 3 categories of friendship · The impact that Ritchie’s mentor, Jimmy Vacca, had upon his life · Choosing a good friend · Judah and Hiram · Friendship and social media · Generational differences in friendships · The polarization of politics · Living by an ethic of magnanimity · His Congress orientation experience · Ritchie’s friendship with the Jewish people and his trips to Israel · The lessons about humankind which Ritchie has learned Quotes:  “We all need friendship.” “Prepare yourself emotionally to be bitterly disappointed, burned and betrayed.” “You can often forge relationships in the places you would least expect.” “The beauty of friendship is the voluntary nature.” “The best kind of friendship that I’ve seen in my life are my mentors.” “There were moments when I even though of committing suicide because I felt as if the world around me had collapsed, and…today I’m about to become a United States Congressman.” “He believed in me more than I believed in myself at times.” “Two people who shared the same soul.” “Social media creates the illusion of friendship.” “In the age of social media…we all manufacture a synthetic version of ourselves.” “We never give up on any human being.” “Friendship stems from the experience of recognizing divinity in others.” “When I treat a mother, I’m treating God.” “As a decent person, I have an obligation to speak out against hatred in every form, including anti-Semitism.” “It’s important for all of us to open our minds and open our hearts to new experiences.” “Friendship is the key to a great career in Congress.”  Proverbs 18:24 There are companions to keep one company, And there is a friend more devoted than a brother. https://www.sefaria.org/Proverbs.18.24?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en  Links: The Rabbi’s Husband homepage: The Rabbi's Husband Mark’s Twitter: Mark Gerson - The Rabbi's Husband (@markgerson) The Rabbi’s Husband Newsletter contact: daniel@therabbishusband.com

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