This week Wex is on the road again – for the final push in the Jewish Book Council tour.
If you’re in Rockland County New York, Cherry Hill New Jersey, New Haven Connecticut, Rockville Maryland or Las Vegas Nevada you can come and see Wex talk live about How to Be a Mentsh and get yourself a signed copy (or three).
Ahead of his appearance in Connecticut the New Haven Advocate interviewed Wex about the book.
Advocate: What do I have to do to be a mentsh and not a shmuck?
Michael Wex: It’s pretty much a matter of considering other people. The classic formulation is one found in the Talmud, from a rabbi named Hillel: “If there’s something you hate when somebody else does it to you, don’t do it to other people.” Why did Hillel express this negatively? Why didn’t he just say, “Treat others the way you want them to treat you,” like Jesus did? The Jewish tradition has a relentlessly realistic view of human character. There’s no idealizing of it, no, “If we all try really hard, we’re all going to turn into Eagle Scouts.” That all ties in with this idea of being a mentsh. Working with what you hate allows you to respect the other person’s preferences.