Inspired by Reb Kalonymos Kalman's ideal of a group of people coming together with the common goal of enhancing their service of God, increasing their sensitivity to all things spiritual, strengthening their love of acheinu kol beis Yisrael, and unlocking the enormous potential that we all have to cleave to the Almighty.

Interaction and discussion of practical ideas and concepts toward this end, culled from any Torah true source is welcome and appreciated.

Observations and personal experiences are also welcome; the point is to grow!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


“Our judgments judge us, and nothing reveals us, exposes our weaknesses, more ingeniously than the attitude of pronouncing upon our fellows.”

Paul Valery

The way Chazal put it was "kol haposel bi'mumo posel". The revered mashgiach Rav Volbe ztz"l calls it a "panas kessem" - a magical flashlight. If you want to know about yourself, explore how you judge others. A person only sees the world through the prism of his own experiences. I often remind myself when being criticized [all too often...], that the words say more about the criticizer than they do about me. [This takes place after I feel hurt and get defensive.]

There are really two issues at hand [I have been learning a lot of Brisk recently so everything is two issues]. 1] How to criticize and 2] How to receive criticism.

1] In a word - with a lot of love, genuine care about the criticized and after verifying that the person feels good enough about himself that will allow him to accept the criticism in a healthy, productive way. Also, the criticism should [generally] be sugar-coated. As Rebbetzin Mary Poppins taught me in my impressionable youth: "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." Well, more than a word.

2] One of the 48 ways of acquiring Torah is "Ohev es hatochachos" - Loving rebuke. Rebuke helps us grow. Amazing!!! BUT [ a big "but"], make sure not to blow it out of proportion. Yes, maybe you are not perfect but that doesn't mean you lack all redemptive traits. You are GOOD, you are WORTHY and your are loved by many - particularly the Master Of The Universe. You have a specific uniqueness and task shared by nobody on earth.

And like we said earlier, the person rebuking and criticizing has his own issues and his words are often a reflection of those issues.

Love and Blessings!!!:)

1 comment:

  1. "If you want to know about yourself, explore how you judge others. A person only sees the world through the prism of his own experiences."

    This also brings to mind the Chofetz Chaim's explanation of the ma'amar that states the we consign our own judgments, which is seemingly counter-intuitive and self defeating.
    He explains that whenever we are presented with an instance where we can judge a fellow negatively, that in essence is showing us something that we are ourselves are supposed to be judged on.
    Dependent on how we judge our fellow, the Heavenly tribunal bases its judgment of us...