It is disheartening, but lately, we have been in touch with two orthodox websites, both of which asked Mesora to help them, to which we agreed. But when we asked that they reciprocate and assist Mesora, one cited their unquestionable clause, “it is not our policy to promote other websites”. To this, we responded, “If you feel you can ask for help but do not wish to reciprocate, then you do not follow Torah principles and you are not worthy of praise – we will not promote your site on ours, as you requested of us.”
Six months to a year ago, another website asked that we help field their questions from their Gentile visitors. We agreed, and for all this time, we have helped them, not ever asking a thing from them. We were glad to respond to those virtuous individuals seeking knowledge of Torah. This week, we asked them to help promote the JewishTimes in an email to their readers. Such promotion would increase our readership and attract new advertisers to help pay for our website. This was the response we received:
“While we do appreciate your tremendous help in fielding some of the questions that come in our policy remains that you are welcome to advertise your publication in your responses, but we can’t grant you free advertising to our subscriber base. The current total of our subscribers totals about 50,000 and as such the advertising comes with a price.”
“We also have a list of 42,000 so we are familiar with the going rates. Considering the matter, the time we have given you and your readers over this past year, asking nothing in return, far surpasses the price of even 10 emails. There is something called Hakaras Hatove as well. We are quite disappointed in your response, especially from a website intent on upholding Torah principles.”
When others ask of you, but themselves are not willing to do the same in return, especially when they claim Torah observance, it appears to me as a Chillul Hashem (disgrace of Heaven) and truly exposes their agenda as not in line with Torah. They have no Hakoras Hatove (recognizing the good) but place themselves superior to others; they feel they deserve the help of others, but not that they should reciprocate. Selfishness destroys friendships, communities and societies. It is of utmost importance that we always recall a good done for us, and recognize it in some tangible manner, be it words of thanks, deeds of reciprocation, or even more. The need for “recognizing a good” is due to human nature: our sense of fairness, and feelings of dignity and respect in others. When such reciprocate equality is not practiced, it is indicative of one’s incorrect feeling that others do not deserve the same justice as him. But as God gave “one” Torah to be practiced equally by us “all”, we learn that God desires equality, and those who oppose equality, oppose a Torah principle.
We must all take to heart how important it is to seek fairness, to go out of your way to be tender and delicate with the feelings of others, and to also seek to promote justice - not only by “recognizing the good”, but with the other pole as stated in this week’s Parsha Kedoshim: rebuking someone who violates Torah. (Lev. 19:17)