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Jewish Journal

Which Type of Loyal Are You?

by Beit T'shuvah

October 25, 2013 | 9:33 am

By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

I was reading a blog by Seth Godin this morning about Loyalty and it got me thinking. He named 2 types of loyalty: one to convenience and one, he calls, "I'm in it for the long haul." There is a third kind as well, I believe, loyalty to personality and a fourth, loyalty from fear.

The loyalty to convenience is that I keep being with this thing, company, person because it is a hassle to change. I see this often in relationships between people. They stay in a relationship that is bad to so-so because it is too much of a hassle to find a new relationship. This happens in personal as well as business relationships. 

The loyalty to personality is one where I like this person, they make me feel good/bad but they are funny and/or I believe I need them. This is the 'I have your back' type of relationship. We see this in business and personal relationships as well. One goes along with actions that are wrong because we "need" the other person to like us and do something for us.

The loyalty from fear is when we are just too afraid or stuck to change and confront. This is the way we give in to an enslaver. We become lackeys for another.

These three types of loyalty are destructive loyalties. They undermine the fabric of a healthy society and they are prevalent in today's (and yesterday's) society. We see this in the political spectrum, we see this in the business spectrum and we see this in the personal realm.

The fourth type, loyalty to: 'I'm in it for the long haul' I am renaming: loyalty to principles. This is the loyalty all healthy people and societies need to live into. This loyalty is the same as loyalty to God. This is the true Spiritual Loyalty that makes life joyous and allows us all to be free. When someone tells me what I want to hear rather than what they see, believe, know, etc. they are harming me, themselves and the commitment we made when we came together.

Loyalty to Principles is the path to wholeness and Redemption. There can be no redemption for an individual, community, or world without this type of loyalty. The 'long haul' for all of us is, I believe, how I can look myself in the mirror and be okay with "the man in the glass" as the poem goes. How can I look into my children's, my partner's, my family members', my friends’, my spouse's, my employees', my employer's, and God's eyes with joy, serenity, peace when I am loyal to anything else but principles? I know it is impossible!

Let's all be addicted to this type of loyalty so we can redeem our lives, the lives of others and our society.

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