Short Idea Huge Concept

Wise Jewish SagePeriodically, you hear something which you intuitively know could change your life. This is one of those ideas.

I love this blog platform. For so many years, I’ve spent time on non-fiction books, particularly in practical Talmudic law. That is exacting writing, to say the least.

Here, in blog format, it’s customary to ‘share thoughts,’ even in off-handed manner. (And, one doesn’t have to cite footnotes.) Here is a thought.

Recently, we were seated at a chasidic gathering (called a farbrengen). Ten of us sat around the lunch table this Sabbath in the synagogue. At the head of the table sat a Rabbi. He told a short story:

A rabbinic student reached marriage age, and married. As was customary, he continued  Talmudic studies for a number of years thereafter. He was totally absorbed in this.

The time came, eventually, when he needed to enter the world. Find his way into a profession, make his influence felt outside the halls of study.

As he had always done, now too, he went to ask his Rabbi’s advice.

“Rabbi,” he said, “please give me some advice which will strengthen and guide me through my entrance into “the real world.'”

The rabbi thought, then slowly responded.

“Keep this as your guiding rule. Whenever you see a fault in someone else, search for that fault in yourself and try to correct it,” the rabbi said.

“And, when you see a positive character trait in another person, try to embrace and adopt that into your own life.”images

Until here is the story I heard.

Clearly, at least to me, the story stands by itself. It really doesn’t need any commentary. That said, I won’t comment on it. Just share a few thoughts.

At other times, when I’ve heard the story, the speaker added this: Whatever someone is shown during the course of his/her life, every circumstance, is for that person’s benefit. (Attributed to the Baal Shem Tov.)

The fact that you met someone whose character fault bothers you is a sign. It’s designed, from Above, to awaken the awareness in you to fix that very trait.

It seems to me that following this one single advice could make many of our lives more pleasant. And, make us more pleasant.

After all, our most common and instinctive reaction is to allow character traits we see in others to bother us. In the best scenario we ignore it. Other times we can’t. In worse cases we complain. Finally, the very worst outcome is it causes conflict.

This succinct adage could potentially be a cure-all for any of this strife. That would make many lives more pleasant, and many people more pleasant.

That’s one side.

The flip side is the positive:

“And, when you see a positive character trait in another person, try to embrace and adopt that into your own life.”

Let’s leave it at that. Gotta go for now.

Hope you enjoyed these thoughts. Till next time.


Add Comment