In this week’s parsha we talk about the value of giving and receiving respect.

A show host is grilling his guest on various aspects of his life during a radio interview.

The guest answers question after question on the nitty-gritty of his relationships and life experiences: from the reason why he divorced his first wife, to the details of his current relationship, etc. Finally, the host asks his guest:

“So tell me sir, how much do you earn a year?”

Aghast, the guy suddenly clams up: “Excuse me! That’s confidential information…”

Indeed, the boundaries of privacy have truly become blurred.

In Brazil, it is casual to kiss in greeting; in France, to kiss both cheeks.

One would think that with the explosion of such emotion and closeness, respect would be heightened. Instead, the divorce rate is extremely high, and politicians we ought to hold in esteem are being sued. And in a world that promotes respectable sentiments, it is not uncommon for businessmen to hire older secretaries on their wives’ insistence.

The Talmud offers incredible insight in this area, mandating that “one should respect his wife more than himself.”

Indeed, respect is something that we must invest in. It is not merely about a borderline that we observe, or a level of confidentiality that we don’t cross; it is about building a society on solid moral foundations.

This is respect!