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Judaism does not normally encourage an attitude of contempt and disdain for fame and renown achieved by legitimate means. Fame is the spur to achievement. Yet a well-known statement in the Talmud (Eruvin 13b) warns: ‘Whoever runs after fame, fame runs away from him. But whoever runs away from fame, fame runs after him.’ In a delightful Hasidic tale, a man protested to a Hasidic master that while he had always followed the Talmudic advice to run away from fame, fame somehow did not run after him. Why was this? The master replied: ‘Your trouble is that you are always looking behind you to see if fame is running after you!’

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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