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LOYALTY

Loyalty is being devoted to people, your country or a cause you believe in strongly.

"If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?" Rabbi Hillel, Mishneh: Ethics of the Fathers, I:14

Loyalty is at the very core of human values; without it no social bonds exist between people. Loyalty can take many forms: the loyalty of the citizen to his country, of the comrade to his peers, of the individuals to his family. But in all cases loyalty requires that we look outside ourselves, beyond our own needs and desires, for the object of our loyalty. That object embodies a principle, an ideal, a cause, and it unites the one with the many.

Loyalty requires that we recognize a relationship to our fellow man. That relationship may entail a family tie or a voluntary association with others who pursue common goals or interests. It may be a shared destiny or an obligation for benefits derived. In any event, loyalty is rarely instinctive. It must be cultivated. Loyalty is reflected in private observance of the law as well as the more obvious public displays of heroism.

Examples of loyalty from history and literature:

  • The Odyssey
  • The Giving Tree
  • "Naomi and Ruth" from the King James Bible
  • Boy Scouts of America

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