October 7th, 2011

Patience for Jobs

http://gawker.com/5847344/what-everyone-is-too-polite-to-say-about-steve-jobs

A friend on FB posted this story with the following observation:

'That greatness can exist hand-in-hand with major flaws of character, abuses of power, and defects of leadership should be a humbling lesson for all of us. After reading this, that's what's most on my mind this Yom Kippur.'

I really do not think I can improve on that, but I'll just add my own thoughts.

I do not think it takes anything away from Steve's memory to observe that he was human, and possessed faults as well as virtues.

I think it's appropriate that there are favorable tributes to him; he will be remembered well, and I think he deserves to be.

No doubt at this very moment, somewhere some vindictive soul is setting about the business of writing a mean-spirited biography of "the real Steve Jobs". This is as inevitable as it is sad, because there's always somebody who wants to cut the great person down to size.

Far better and healthier, then, for the sake of Steve's memory and for the rest of us, if there's an occasional voice to temper the chorus of praise that arises after his passing.

Somewhere in the Rabbinic literature there's a saying (I'm too lazy to try to look it up now) that a disciple should study his master's flaws as well as his virtues, lest he copy them.

Steve Jobs will be remembered well. May we develop the character to live with greater kindness and courage - and to work past our own failings and those of others.

May we live our lives well enough that we may be remembered with both kindness and clarity.

G'mar hatima tova.