Posted on Sep 4, 2020 | 0 comments


The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything we see, whether good or bad, is really a reflection of ourselves. If it was not, we’d simply not see it.

This phenomenon is part of a merciful way that G-d has of teaching us lessons in life. Most of us have a difficult time hearing from others that we have a flaw which we ourselves don’t recognize. Therefore, G-d sets us up to have a confrontation with a person who exhibits that same flaw in some form. We see it and we say “how terrible.” But then it dawns on us that we exhibit the same behavior, though perhaps in different form.

The same is true for positive things. We recognize a positive characteristic in others because we have it in ourselves. If we didn’t have any element of it, we wouldn’t recognize it.

In other words: You are what you see. And you see what you are.

Many Jews living in Germany in the 1930s didn’t recognize the evil of the German people because they had none of it in themselves. They couldn’t fathom that anyone could mirrormurder them in cold blood. If you are incapable of a crime, it’s impossible to imagine that someone else is capable of it.

There are atrocities that we can’t even relate to because we’re not capable of doing such a thing ourselves.

The same is true for goodness or holiness.

Many of us are cynical because we never met anyone truly holy or truly pure. So we don’t believe that it’s possible to be that way because it’s not part of our own experience.

Ask yourself: Are you cynical about the holiness of others?  Do you see the goodness around you?  When confronted with a behavior that you dislike are you able to see the same flaw, in some form, in yourself?

Exercise for the day:

– Of the events of the past day, select a positive experience and identify how the goodness you encountered is embodied in you. – Of the events of the past day, select a negative experience and identify how this reflects a negative characteristic that you possess.

this is straight from 60 Days of Spiritual Journey by Rabbi Jacobson – just too good not to share! Take the time and purchase his book – it will change your perspective on a lot of things!


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