We can learn the most from those who are different from us

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A Torah scroll. Photo: RabbiSacks.org.

Devaki Raj is the CEO and co-founder of CrowdAI, an artificial intelligence startup that “enables anyone to create high-quality solutions for analyzing images and videos.” A graduate of the University of Oxford, Raj is almost twenty years old and started his career at Google Maps before co-founding CrowdAI. TechCrunch considers the startup as a “company to watch” and Forbes named Raj as one if his “30 under 30”In the science category in 2019. Raj recently sat for a meeting with Aileen Black at Federal Information Network to talk about leadership challenges in the start-up industry.

Raj’s parents are both academics who “greatly influenced his leadership style” by giving him “the confidence to speak out,” she told Black. But it was not enough. As CEO, she learned that if she wanted to elevate her team and earn their respect and loyalty, the best thing she could do was “learn from everyone around you”. When everyone feels valued, so that even the CEO learns from them, it creates unbeatable momentum, producing a solid platform for growth and success.

Write for Forbes in 2016, another young entrepreneur, Samantha harrington, wrote that “learning from everyone around me – from my teammate to my competitor to the random person I met in the cafe this morning – is something I find increasingly valuable “.

All of life’s important lessons are learned from the wide variety of people one meets and, as Harrington explained, she “learned to be an entrepreneur through the success stories and failures of mentors. [and] how to run my business through conversations with small business owners about the way they work and hearing how a former boss learned to be a good manager.

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October 15, 2021 10:30 a.m.

There is no one you meet who does not have something to teach you; our task is simply to be open to learn from them when we meet them.

The late Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, who died earlier this year at the age of 90, was the author of over 90 books on a range of topics, from Torah to Jewish ethics, counseling for drug addicts and the auto -assistance.

In his book on Torah Portions, “Twerski on Chumash“, he quotes a story he heard every year from his father during the week they read the Parshat Lech Lecha.

His father, Rabbi Jacob Israel Twerski (1899-1973), came from a family of great Hasidics, notably the Hasidic dynasty of Chernobyl – and he particularly enjoyed telling stories about the Hasidic masters. This concerned Rabbi Meir, the Rabbi of Przemyslany (1783-1850), whose exemplary piety and compassion made him revered as one of the first Hasidic rulers of his generation.

Rabbi Meir had a particularly close friendship with Brody’s Chief Rabbi, the Rabbi Shlomo kluger (1785-1869). Temperament, these two rabbis could not have been more different. While Rabbi Meir was a holy man with a common touch, Rabbi Kluger was a book scholar, whose legal opinions and the many published works were avidly sought after by his colleagues, for whom he was an oracle of Jewish law.

Once, when Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Kluger met, they ended up spending several hours together. As he was about to leave, Rabbi Meir turned to Rabbi Kluger and quoted a verse from Lech Lecha that describes an interesting meeting between Abraham and a local leader after the mission to save Lot from the four kings. (Gen. 14:18): “And king Melchizedek of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of the Most High God.

The Talmud (Nedarim 32b) informs us that Melchizedek was Shem, son of Noah, who was best known for his role as the dean of an academy devoted to spiritual research and learning from God. During this time, Abraham was renowned for his extraordinary hospitality and kindness.

“And now,” said Rabbi Meir of Przemyslany, “these two great men of faith have finally met and spent time together. What did they do while they were together? I’ll tell you what they did. Each has learned something from the other.

With this revelation, Rabbi Meir offered a new interpretation of the verse he had quoted to demonstrate the point. The verse begins with “King Melchizedek of Salem brought bread and wine,” implying that Melchizedek, after spending quality time with Abraham, had fully absorbed the superlative qualities of his guest’s hospitable nature and had become a gracious and generous host.

The verse seems to end with a description of Melchizedek, but, according to Rabbi Meir, it is not Melchizedek who is the subject of this statement, but Abraham: “And he” – meaning Abraham – “was a priest of the Most- God. High. “Abraham, after spending quality time with Melchizedek, developed a high appreciation for spiritual pursuits and the knowledge of God, and as a result, was able to rise to new levels he had never reached before. .

The lesson Rabbi Meir wanted to teach with this reading was both simple and concise. For people who wondered how two very different Rabbis could spend so much time together, the answer was that Rabbi Meir had a lot to learn from Rabbi Kluger, and Rabbi Kluger had a lot to learn from Rabbi Meir. It was precisely because they were so different that the opportunity to learn from each other was so precious.

Rabbi Twerski concludes his article by wondering why his father repeated this story every year. After all, “he knew I had heard this interpretation many times.” He concludes that the lesson to be learned from everyone you meet is crucial if you really want to remain a lifelong learner and his father “wanted to impress me with the importance of always being teachable, ready to. learn something from each person “.

I couldn’t agree more. It is a powerful lesson for all of us.


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