By David J. Seidemann, Esq.
Eleven years later and I trust that we are safer than we were on that day when I arrived at work and found two NYPD officers standing in front of my office. What brought them there had nothing to do with the attacks, but they were the people who informed me of what had happened just as I was walking up the stairs to my office. Why do I have that trust? Because the people I put my trust in know that I and millions of others are counting on them to perform, to utilize their expertise and knowledge. And knowing that we believe in them should inspire them to believe in themselves and in their mission.
A former Navy SEAL authors a book, No Easy Day, about the killing of Bin Laden. Defense secretary Leon Panetta asserts that the author violated a trust by disclosing the inner workings of that operation. By revealing the details of the operation, the author violated his duty to his fellow SEALs and all that might follow. You see, argues Panetta and many others, when you join an exclusive club, your duty is to protect your comrades. When you share information that potentially could compromise their safety, a trust has been violated. To a SEAL, I would imagine, that trust is as important as life and death.
He joins a health fitness facility to lose weight and bulk up a bit. Not just any gym, but a gym that costs close to $12,000 for sixty sessions. Not just any gym, but a gym that provides him with his own personal trainer and his own private room, complete with computerized printouts of his progress on a daily basis. He is provided not just with any trainer, but a highly skilled, experienced, and certified trainer who devises a program specifically for him, carefully monitoring all of his activities.
And he trusts his trainer because she possesses the experience that he lacks. But his trainer lets him down. She teaches him a maneuver that all the experts agree is dangerous, and to add personal insult to personal injury, she has him place the weights on his neck instead of his shoulders. Two surgeries and a lawsuit later, my client is finally getting back on his feet.
Kids all over the world boarded buses a few days ago to begin another school year. But not the kids in Chicago. Their teachers are on strike. Mayor Emanuel opines that the teachers have violated a trust with their students.
I went for my annual physical yesterday, which by my calendar means once every five years unless my wife convinces me to go sooner. I didn’t understand a word the doctor told me about the injection he gave me or how it fends off whatever he was talking about, but I trust him because he possesses something I don’t have—superior knowledge.
And on a far less important scale, the New York Jets scored no touchdowns in three pre-season games and only one touchdown in their fourth and final pre-season game. But true fans trusted that they would rise to the occasion on opening day last Sunday against Buffalo, and we were not that surprised when the Jets lit up the scoreboard for 48 points.
Trust, defined as the reliance on the integrity, strength, or ability of a person or thing.
Trust, also defined as the expectation of a certain act or effort or result.
The first definition leads to the conclusion that if we trust in G‑d, He will provide what He wants to provide. The second definition can lead one to conclude that G‑d will provide what we want Him to provide. The first definition means G‑d knows what is best. The second interpretation opens the door to presume that man knows what is best.
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They were the last two of their age group that were not married, and they were polar opposites. No one thought they should be in the same room, let alone marry each other. His parents said no. Her parents said no. His rabbi did not think it was a good idea and neither did hers. His friends warned him against going through with it and her friends had similar advice. Even the caterer, who knew both families, was surprised and let the fellow know. They met as one was entering a psychiatrist’s office and the other was leaving.
The wedding was a disaster, and all who attended saw it as simply a foreshadowing of what would eventually happen. But they were all wrong, on many different fronts. Ten years later they are the proud parents of three children, and while it’s not necessarily Paradise Island, it is by no stretch Gilligan’s Island. In other words, they are not shipwrecked and wandering aimlessly. They trust each other, knowing what to expect of each other, sort of like definition number two of trust as explained above.
But now let’s see just how Divine definition number one of trust came into play. Long story short, his brother needed surgery that, if delayed, could result in at the very least the loss of his eyesight. His brother had no health insurance, and no doctor he had consulted with was ready, willing, and able to perform the surgery.
But her uncle was an accountant who did the books for an ophthalmologist, who was invited to the wedding, who dropped off a wedding gift at the newlyweds’ home when the brother happened to be visiting, who struck up a conversation, and who then performed the surgery—for free—that saved this young man’s eyesight.
Trust. The reliance on Hashem to move all the pieces into place even when the pieces are not a perfect match to man’s eye.
David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann and Mermelstein and serves as a professor of business law at Touro College. He can be reached at 718-692-1013 or