The following is the introduction to the unit on the value of Human Dignity – Kevod Habriyot.
How do we wake up each morning knowing “I am enough” and “I am worthy of love, belonging and joy?” How do we nurture such a mindset of inherent dignity in our children? The Torah teaches us that humans – no matter gender, race, color or abilities – are created in the image of God. As such, we are inherently worthy. In Hebrew this value is called kevod habriyot –the honor and dignity of all people. How do we step more fully into our own worthiness, raise our children with this value, and create communities imbued with dignity and respect for all?
The Hebrew term for dignity, Kevod Habriyot, literally means ‘the honor of the created beings’. The word in Hebrew for honor, kavod, is related to the word for weight, as in gravitas, or giving weight to the presence of another human being.
We often refer to important ideas as ‘heavy’ and frivolous ideas as lightweight. In fact, our bodies can influence our thinking simply by holding a lighter or heavier object. In a study in Psychological Science, each participant was given either a heavy or light clipboard. They were then asked to ponder a hypothetical problem of injustice. Those who held the heavy clipboards thought more deeply about the issue, while those with light clipboards literally held the issue more lightly, giving it less consideration.
Are there important issues in your life that you want to hold less lightly? Are there other issues that you’d like to hold more lightly?
Judaism holds with great weightiness all matters of human dignity. It is a central tenant of our tradition that all humans – no matter color, creed, IQ or salary – are quintessentially worthy of respect.
The Year of Growth book enriches the Momentum year-long journey. Most Partner Organizations build on Year of Growth resources to deepen group learning. Mothers use the book to share learning with friends and family and to bring the learning back to their children.
Year of Growth is given in Israel to all Momentum trip participants in English, Russian, Spanish, or Hebrew as of 2020.