Factual Context:
We are told early on in the Bible that “we are all made in G-d’s image.” However, no explanation is provided as what this means. Obviously, some people behave better than others. There is a wide spectrum of people, ranging from righteousness to evil. So, the Biblical statement quoted above must have some other significance beyond its plain meaning.

Questions abound with respect to this Guideline. Although the Bible occasionally uses anthropomorphic descriptions to describe particular actions, the Creator has no form or spatial limitations. The Almighty is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. So how can any human being possibly compare? Talk about no doable!

The Hebraic commentaries inform us that being in G-d’s image means that we all have the ability, to one extent or another to replicate the Creator’s attributes: we can be kind, patient, forgiving, compassionate, etc. At the most basic level, being in the image of G-d means respecting others. It is recorded that a famous Jewish sage was once asked by a potential convert to teach him the entire Bible while he stood on one leg- meaning in a mere few minutes. The sage astutely answered: “That which is offensive to you, don’t do to others. All the rest is commentary.” In short: Be Mindful.

Practical Commentary:
The reader can probably think of many things that he or she personally finds irritating or inconsiderate. Here are some examples that come to mind.

We should all try to be punctual. If we make an appointment, we should make every effort to be there at the designated time. If there is a reasonable possibility that traffic or something else might delay us, we should leave sufficiently early to ensure an “on time” arrival. Usually, we are aware when these type of unanticipated circumstances could occur.
A patient one time waited almost one hour to see the doctor with whom he had an appointment. When he mentioned to the latter that he had waited for that time period, she sighed and responded, “You know, I try to carefully arrange my schedule so that I can adequately treat each person at the called for time. But, people always arrive late, pushing back the time for the patients after them.” Nobody likes hanging around, whether at a doctor’s office or anywhere else.

How about the following situation: You have just purchased the times you needed and are in the checkout line at a major supermarket. The person just ahead of you talks about the last movie they have viewed to the cashier while the latter is ringing up the items. Then, the compilation is completed, this customer begins searching for the appropriate credit card in their wallet or purse, needlessly make you (and everyone behind you) wait 2-3 minutes longer.

What was in this person’s mind? Since he or she is probably not a close relative or friend of the cashier, the customer should know payment for the goods is a pre-condition to leaving the store with those items in hand. So, instead of telling the supermarket employee what they liked or didn’t like about a particular movie, why not attempt to locate the credit card while the final bill is being tabulated? Wouldn’t this be appreciated by everyone queued up behind the purchaser?

Here is another example. If someone is speaking to us, we should look at them. This used to be basic etiquette. Today, however, many people apparently believe that it’s critical for them to view every text message as soon as it is received. This occurs even if it means ignoring the human being standing in front of them. Why? Is the listener anticipating word of an atomic attack or dramatic stock market fluctuation? If a very important text might be forthcoming or the person spoken to only has a limited amount of time, this should be communicated at the beginning of the conversation.

What about sneezing or coughing into the open air when others are nearby? None of us would like to think we are the cause of another person becoming sick. If one has to sneeze or cough and does not have the time to walk away from the surrounding area, it should be done into their armpit. Everyone appreciates this type of common courtesy.
Speaking loudly on an iphone in public areas is another source of irritation to others. Has this ever happened to you? You are at a supermarket and someone a few feet away is loudly asking the person on the other end what type of milk they should purchase, “Should I get the non-fat, skim or regular milk? What kind do you usually drink?” Frankly, other shoppers usually don’t want to be an unwilling participant in the speaker’s conversation (even if an extremely important national issue like what type or brand of milk to purchase is hanging in the balance).

On the subject of speaking several octaves beyond what is necessary, doesn’t it seem like it is often impossible to have a calm, civil conversation with others about a growing number of topics (politics, sports teams, etc.). When someone has a different viewpoint, why not calmly ask that person, “Could you tell me why you feel that way?” Once they have stated their rationale (hopefully without interruption), the other side can explain why they disagree. If one party interrupts your response or begins to speak in a higher tone, it’s respectful to say, “please allow me finish my position on this.” Being mindful should mean being able to discuss differences in an amicable fashion. It’s rare when a mind can be changed, but nothing is lost by at least “hearing” the other sides opinion (is it on real facts or emotion?).

Author's Bio: 

The author, Brian Siegel, is a graduate of Syracuse University (Phi Beta Kappa/Magna Cum Laude) and Columbia Law School (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar). In addition to academic excellence, Brian wrote a popular 12-book series of exam-taking manuals for law students entitled, “Siegel’s Answers to Essay and Multi-Choice Questions.” Over 200,000 copies of these books have been sold.

A conscientious Bible student, Brian was profoundly impressed by the ethical, sensitivity and character refinement precepts embedded in Genesis and the attendant Jewish Oral Tradition. Although established thousands of years ago, these timeless messages unquestionably engender a happier, more elevated, satisfying life.

It’s been said that the way to make a better world starts by improving ourselves. Brian is confident that applying the teachings described above has enhanced his own character. He sincerely hopes that “The Original Self-Help Book, Life Lessons from Genesis” will inspire others to also undertake this effort. If this occurs, Brian would be pleased to prepare additional life lessons from the Bible.

To learn more please visit brian-siegel.com