Minute #473: Compliments

“I really admire Mrs. Shain,” Gila said. “It seems like everyone she meets gets along with her.”

“She certainly does have a way about her,” Ora acknowledged. “But I think people like to spend time with her for one overriding reason.”

“And what would that be?”

“She never makes a person feel taken for granted. She always compliments the people with whom she interacts,” Ora replied.

“I agree,” Gila said. “I think that’s what creates the desire to be in her inner circle.”

Everyone appreciates a compliment. It’s not dependent on age or gender; all people like to feel that their behavior is pleasing to others. Many do acts of kindness or volunteer to assist in a community project in order to gain the approval of friends and neighbors. But even one who contributes selflessly likes to hear a good word said about his or her contribution.

As Jews, we must realize that this trait is more than good etiquette. The more we acknowledge the good we receive from others, the more we will grow to appreciate the constant benefits with which Hashem blesses each one of us.

A distinguished visitor had the honor of dining with the Chofetz Chaim. At dinner, the Gadol Hador repeatedly commented how much he liked the soup. He liked the flavor and the fact that it was exactly the temperature he preferred. The gentleman was a little surprised that this world-renowned sage would care so much about the foods that he ingested.

Subsequently he discovered that the Chofetz Chaim was praising the meal to make the woman who prepared it feel that her efforts were appreciated. He also did so to develop his own appreciation of the benefits we all receive from Hashem. A compliment serves the giver and the receiver as well. Try it more often for your own sake.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

When we notice a quarrel or a feud, we should point out (if it is already out in the open) that this is definitely not the Torah way and that we should stay away from such behavior. (Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, Meaningful Living, p. 47)