This week the footy world was roiled by a spectacular scandal. Collingwood football club was revealed to have a culture of institutional racism. This is only the latest scandal involving denigration of other people to afflict a major sports team. Unfortunately, this sort of thing has happened far too many times. It seems that when people are so heavily invested in their goals, so very passionate, they forget to treat others properly.
The Torah describes this exact phenomenon in this week's Parsha. After all the wonder of receiving the Torah, after the flames, and noise, and the ten commandments themselves, we are treated to ht seems the ultimate mundanity. after the inspiring, unforgettable experience of receiving the Torah, we are told to take care that we should not take steps which are too large when ascending the Mizbeach, the altar, because in doing so we might reveal our nakedness to the altar through our trousers. Rashi comments that this teaches us something crucial about interpersonal relationships as well. If the altar, which has no feelings, is to be treated to respectfully, how much more so another human being.
This is a crucial lesson in our lives. We are all constantly busy with projects which are essential to us. This is a wonderful thing. It builds our society and the world and improves it for others. However, if it is not accompanied by a deep respect for others, then it is worth nothing. While we might care a great deal about what we are working on, we must always remember to care more about the people around us.