King Solomon tells us (Proverbs 27:21), “מַצְרֵף לַכֶּסֶף, וְכוּר לַזָּהָב; וְאִישׁ, לְפִי מַהֲלָלוֹ – the refining pot shows us what silver really is, the furnace shows us for gold, but a person’s true colors are shown by what they praise.” We can learn a lot about a person based upon what they feel is important. Does a person think that holy people are awesome and that wisdom and knowledge is awesome? Or does a person think that it is really cool to hurt others and make fun of people. Even if a person doesn’t make fun of people himself, thinking that behavior is a cool one says a lot about who they are. What we hold in high-regard speaks volumes to what our core values are and what type of people we are.
Many Jews say a special prayer on Shabbat, “ain ke’arkecha – There is nothing as valuable as you, God”. At face value this seems a little odd, why should we be telling God He is the most valuable thing in the world? Who are we to tell God He is awesome? It would be like going up to Kobe Bryant and saying, “You are an amazing basketball player!” Who are you to tell him that? But when we look at this in the context of what we learned above, it makes much more sense. We aren’t telling God that, objectively, He is the most valuable, rather we are telling him that we are putting him at the top of our priority list, that He is, subjectively, to us, the most valuable thing in the world. We are declaring that we are the type of person who puts God first in our lives.
Today’s Jewish mission is to figure out what things you praise, what things are valuable to you, figure out what that says about who you are and try and re-prioritize your life putting God and Judaism at the top.