Jewish tradition teaches, “Who is worthy of honor? One who honors all creation.”
How and what we honor says a lot about who we are.
We live in a world that undervalues honor and that makes a caricature of honor.
We undervalue honor by dishonoring almost everything: our selves, our communal institutions, our leaders– political and otherwise, our earth. It’s sad, but we live in a perpetual honor-deficit.
We caricature honor when we make it about jingoism. Strapping honor to the back of duty, to the back of service to the greater whole, setting honor to the soundtrack of the military march or otherwise– this has the inadvertent effect of linking honor with a particular kind of service. Surely this kind of service and honor are connected, but honor is about so much more.
There can be honor in irreverence. There can be honor in slowing down. There can be honor in listening to a story. There can be honor in invoking the name of a friend or teacher. There can be honor in disobedience. There can be honor in servitude.
Honor is a profound concept and one that is sadly evaporating from the discourse of daily life.