The Blessing of Our Integrity

Yael Eckstein  |  January 21, 2022

Yael smiling and embracing her family during Passover.

The righteous who walks in his integrity—
    blessed are his children after him!
— Proverbs 20:7 (ESV)

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

I want to share with you the motto that my father, Fellowship Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, lived by: Cooperate whenever possible; oppose whenever necessary; and teach and sensitize at all times.

I witnessed my father’s commitment to these principles when he was alive and continue to benefit from them to this day. Because my father impacted so many lives in so many significant ways, I find myself the beneficiary of so much love and appreciation from people whose lives he touched. This experience has taught me an important aspect of parenting that often goes unnoticed.

The relationships that we forge during our lives with those around us continue and are passed on to our children. We tend to think about the effect we have on our friends and communities in terms of results that we see in the present. When we help someone or grow close to someone in friendship, our focus is on the situation before us. Someone needs help, a listening ear, a friend.

The Blessing of Our Integrity

The same is true when we need to take a stand. As my father said, “Oppose whenever necessary.” When those situations arise, our thoughts are on the crisis of the moment, not some long-term impact on our children. However, living as my father’s daughter and successor has made me think more deeply about how my children are impacted by everything I do.

Proverbs teaches that “The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!” When we act with integrity, when we stick to our values and are known as reliable by friends and community, we give our children an invaluable foundation for their own success.

Our children not only have the example of their parents to follow, but they have the benefit of the good will and well-earned reputation that we have earned from all whose lives we have touched.

The blessing of our own integrity is more valuable than any material inheritance that we leave our children.

Your Turn:

Think of some values that your parents left you as an inheritance. What are the values that you would want to leave to the next generation?