Sivan 5759 – Maintaining Objectivity

15 Sivan 5759

From the Desk of: Rabbi Chaim Flom

A few years ago, during my meluim (reserve duty in the Israeli army) I came across an American who was lost. “Can I help you?” I asked. “I don’t speak Hebrew,” the stranger replied. “Can I help you?” I repeated. “I don’t speak Hebrew,” again he replied. “I am speaking English,” I said in total disbelief of the conversation. “Oh, when I saw your Israeli army uniform, I just assumed you were speaking Hebrew,” he answered embarrassingly. (I was glad my Pittsburgh accent wasn’t the source of the problem.)

We often hear and see what we are predispositioned to hear and see. When the spies went to Israel, G-d made a miracle that the inhabitants of the land were preoccupied with burying their dead so they wouldn’t notice the Jews. Rather than seeing their good fortune in this, the spies saw Israel as the land that “eats its inhabitants.”

In a Pittsburgh Pirates – New York Mets baseball game, when a Met would slide into home plate and be called out, it doesn’t take a navi to know which team would scream that he was really safe and which team would agree with the umpire. Why? Because when your orientation is to the Mets, your glasses get that tint in them. I am not talking about people blantantly lying, but on a close call, the Met fan would actually see his favorite player as safe. (Sorry if you don’t follow baseball, sorrier if you follow the Mets.)

Before we complain that someone isn’t good to us, or that Hashem gave us a raw deal, try to separate fact from bias.

Some people see the glass as half empty, others as half full, but I think we should see that the cup has exactly the right amount.