Today 22nd Elul, 5769 – eMussar Lesson –
The Positive Approach
eMussar – The Wisdom of Personal Growth
A daily inspirational, concise idea, with a suggested action.
THE PARABLES OF THE BEN ISH HAI
There was once Torah scholar who found favor in the eyes of the king. Indeed, he was so full of wisdom and wondrous advice that the king appointed him as his second. Under the sage’s brilliant leadership the nation became the wealthiest and most powerful kingship in the region. He was beloved by all the citizens of the country.
However, there was one non-Jewish tailor who was consumed with jealousy over the Rabbi’s prestige. One day the king and the sage traveled through the market in the royal carriage. When they passed the tailor’s window he belted out a rowdy song that was derogatory about Jews. The king was outraged, “How dare that man insult my beloved friend!” The king then turned to the Rabbi and said, “Give the order to have this man’s tongue cut out of his mouth.” Inexplicably, instead of carrying out the king’s orders, the Sage went to the tailor’s house and gave him a gift of $2000.
The following week the king and the Rabbi passed by the tailor’s house. As the royal carriage approached, the tailor greeted them with a rousing song – that praised the Jews and the Rabbi. The king was perturbed, “Didn’t I tell you to have his tongue cut out?”
“Your majesty,” said the Rabbi to the king, “I did as you ordered.” I removed his old nasty tongue and replaced it with a new one that issues praises and sweet songs. The king laughed with delight at the cleverness of his minister. “Nevertheless,” said the king, “I would have preferred that you carried out my command.”
The Rabbi responded, “I acted on behalf of your honor. For if I would have ordered his tongue to be cut out, people would have said, ‘Everything the tailor said about the Jews is true. The king only punished him to defend the honor of his friend.’ However, now that I gave him a handsome gift he praises the Jews. When people hear his new words they will realize that his first song was mere slander.”
The secret of education is embedded in this story. It is one thing to be a strict disciplinarian – and quite another thing to transform a child, student, or friend. May we be blessed with the wisdom to help others change in the most positive of ways.
TODAY: Before you correct another person, consider the most positive and effective method to use.
By Rabbi Zvi Miller.
New Blog Post: Judgment Time=Elul
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Source: Salant Foundation.