The bad-guy in those gangster movies invariably says, “It’s not personal, it’s only business.” He rationally explains that he is simply doing what he must for his bad-guy business to be successful. “How would it look if I let this slip?” He expounds that word would get out and then everyone would take advantage. And then the bad-guy proceeds to do his really bad bad-guy thing.
I share this because as I understand in my practice of Judaism, things are precisely the opposite. “It’s not business, it’s only personal.” For me, the creation of relationships and the development of those relationships are paramount. Relationships are at the core of making meaning in my life. Judaism gives us a way to find that space to become connected to another and a greater community that shares traditions and values. It is not about the business of getting it right. I am not counting how many mitzvot you do, nor how well you may do them or how well you do in the business world. It is not about me judging you, punishing you or even rewarding you for how well you performed. It is acknowledging that we are all created in the divine image, although each of us is flawed and completely human. It is about learning to respect those who are different from us as they learn to respect us. It is about creating relationships that can bridge those differences. It is all deeply personal, and great business!