Ethics – My Personal Code for Living
When first given the assignment to talk about my personal code of ethics, I thought it would be an easy assignment. I had just spent an entire year with the Rabbi meeting Mondays from 7-9 discussing the subject. Despite this, when I tried to type the first words, I could not. What I thought would be an easy essay, was actually harder than any research paper or essay I had ever written. I began to ask myself, “what was a personal code of ethics?” Furthermore, what was my personal code of ethics. I had spent countless hours discussing subjects such as sex, business, honesty, marriage, and much more. But how did I put these together into a cohesive “code of ethics”. It was like trying to solve a jig-saw puzzle! I knew what each part was, how it looked, and where it should go. But how did I put all the pieces together to make my puzzle, to make my code of ethics?
I began listing all of the lessons we had gone through during the course of the year, and summarizing my views, on them. Surely this would be a good start to my code of ethics. I then began to look outside of the school year, to look for ethics that we had not mentioned. The list went on endlessly and so I came to a conclusion that if I did not just focus on one idea, this essay would be huge! So I then tried to focus on one single aspect of my personal code of ethics. I looked into our classes and Judaism, and found one very important aspect. I decided to focus on my personal code of ethics, and how it relates to Tzedekah and Tikkun Olam. In Hebrew, they meant Righteousness and Repairing the World, but for my code of ethics, they meant making the changes I want to see. Yet even this, is too broad of a subject, so I narrowed it down to charity. I then further divided this subject into two areas, monetary and physical charity.
The first and most common type of charity is monetary donations. This is the easiest form of charity to complete and something that to me is required. No matter what my situation is, I must always find a way to give donations. I do not think there should be a specific percent of my income given, but you must give something. One simple way this can be done is by giving a homeless person money. This is an easy donation that goes a very long way. Another way this type of charity can be accomplished is by donating money to an organization or cause that you believe in. This in specific is something that I believe is required. In today’s age, anyone with a bank account can donate money to help a cause. With just a simple click of a mouse, I can send money to help causes I believe strongly in. Before doing so though, there is one step that must be made. It is necessary to investigate the organization or cause as the term “non profit” can sometimes be deceptive. Though a charity may show no profits on paper, there may in fact be administrators of the charity who reap large benefits. There is no purpose in giving a thousand dollars to save whales, if 999 dollars go into someone's pocket.
The next way charity can be done is something much more personal and fulfilling. It is physical donation of objects or time. These types of charity are also, in my opinion, required. What is the purpose of fighting for something, if you don’t physically take part in it? Using the example of the homeless, rather than just giving money, why not give someone food or clothes? Why not help an organization by handing out supplies or helping to raise funds. By doing so, you become closer to your cause and it becomes more “real” to you. Once again using the example of saving whales, why stop at donating money? Obviously it is very unlikely that you yourself can save a whale, but why not help with actions. Putting up flyers, raising funds, spreading the word and more! All of these are great ways that one can take physical action in something they want to see change. You do not need to travel across the country or globe either, even small actions make a difference.
In conclusion, a personal code of ethics is something bigger than this essay. It is something that will guide me through life and determine what I do. It is not a simple thing either. It is comprised up of an almost infinite amount of tiny things, all of which add up to make your own personal code of ethics.