In this week’s parsha, Parshas Eikev, the Torah tells us “to walk in all G-d’s ways” (Devarim 11:22). Every human being is created in the image of G-d. Perforce, every human being deserves our respect and for their dignity to be preserved.
Being that Hashem is the Ultimate Giver, it follows that to walk in G-d’s ways requires us to show kindness to our fellow human beings; to go beyond our own self-interests and to be sensitive to the feelings of others. These basic traits of being a mensch are expected of us with special vigilance and care when the other human beings happen to be one’s significant other and children.
Anthony Scaramucci became the shortest-serving Communications Director in the history of The White House when he was shown the door and escorted out of The White House officially after only six days on the job. The number of life lessons that can be extrapolated from the rise and sudden demise of Scaramucci, especially if perceived through the existential guidance relayed by this week’s parsha, are clear and shocking.
There appears to be two main themes that most of the meforshim focus on with respect to the guiding principle of so called “walking in G-d’s ways” – i.e. – humility and benevolence. On both counts, Scaramucci sadly fell conspicuously short, with the outcome being all too predictable!
Scaramucci apparently set his eyes on ‘getting a seat at the table’ in The White House at all costs many months ago. So confident was Scaramucci that nothing would derail his ambition, that he sold Skybridge, the hedge fund that he founded several months ago, to obviate any push back due to a potential conflict. Scaramucci then began canvassing for a senior positon at The White House apparently against the explicit desire of his wife, Deidre Ball (Scaramucci).
The six days of glory for Scaramucci smacked of a narcissistic megalomaniac on the loose – walking in Scaramucci’ s ways impervious to the consequences of his inappropriate actions and remarks. From tweeting to the world that he was “Aboard Air Force One” to embarking on a character assassination of Reince Priebus, the Chief of Staff at the time relayed to Ryan Lizza, a reporter for The New Yorker, Scaramucci was anything but humble and sensitive to the feelings of others.
The harsh reality of the fact that sometimes people get what they deserve occurred within the same time period as Scaramucci was apparently celebrating the successful fulfillment of achieving his dream position – Scaramucci’ s wife filed for divorce. Soon thereafter, Scaramucci was handed a pink slip from the President.
Page 6 of the divorce papers filed by Ms. Ball cited the breaking point that caused her to press eject as the “naked ambition,” displayed by her husband. One example cited for the fact that apparently Scaramucci had put personal fame and ambition ahead of the more important relationships in his life was the fact that he did not attend the birth of his child as he apparently wanted to be on hand for President Trump’s Boy Scout Jamboree speech!
Notwithstanding what appears to be poor judgement on Scaramucci’s part, no sensitive person should get any joy at the fall from grace of another human being. For the record, I certainly do not wish Scaramucci any harm, on the contrary, I wish for him only good things. On a personal level Anthony was a year behind me at Harvard Law School and the only business dealings I had with him while raising capital for a hedge fund, he was charming and very helpful.
That said, the Mishna in Pirkei Avos calls on us to learn from the missteps of other’s … not to get any pleasure from another person’s setbacks but to appreciate that there are life lessons to be learned from such a high profile reversal of fortune.
Perhaps the real tragedy of the rise and fall of Anthony Scaramucci is that he could have utilized these setbacks to take stock and reevaluate his priorities and values. Who knows, maybe even try salvage his marriage? Instead, and perhaps the real evidence that – as Winston Churchill was credited as saying – “every person trips up in the journey of life and has the opportunity to recognize the truth, what makes these trips really sad is that most people get up and keep running …” is Scaramucci’ s recent comments to a reporter of The Huffington Post.
When asked about his future plans, Scaramucci remarked that “I am now going to go dark …then I will reemerge as me.”
Perhaps Scaramucci missed the profound wisdom implicit in this week’s parsha!
1Rabbi Chanan (Antony) Gordon is a Sir Abe Bailey Fellow, Fulbright Scholar and graduate of the Harvard Law School. Chanan has spent most of his career in the high end of the financial service industry.
Chanan can best be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.