Minute #521: The BIG Picture

“You know that I usually agree with you about such things, but this time I don’t,” Herschel said.

“I can appreciate that, but I need an explanation before I can understand why this time is different,” Azriel said. “You have to admit my track record on employee evaluations is pretty good.”

“Yes, and that’s the point. Would you want me to say you never know what you’re doing because you failed one or two times? Probably not!” Herschel replied.

“Of course not. We’ve worked together for so many years, you have to expect some mistakes over time,” Azriel said.

“That’s my point exactly,” agreed Herschel. “When I am evaluating YOU I’m expected to take into account ALL that you have done and put the mishaps into proper perspective. Well, I want you to look at the big picture as well before you reach any conclusions about others. Get my point?”

“Yes, I do,” his friend admitted.

Judging others is an activity we all engage in constantly. Whether or not we reach the right conclusions depends on our perspective when looking at the picture. If someone did many favors for me, I’m expected to always appreciate and acknowledge my hakarat hatov. If, on occasion, that same person fails to fill my needs or satisfy my desires, I’m expected to look at the big picture and appreciate his or her failed attempt as a small failure within the larger framework of a successful relationship.

This lesson can be applied to many interpersonal situations. If you want to reach the right conclusion, don’t look at the small picture. Expand your horizons and see where things fit in the big picture.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

There are people who are endowed with great wisdom or expertise in a particular field of endeavor. This might lead them to feelings of arrogance and superiority. Yet, they, too, should realize that these talents come with solemn obligation to be utilized for Hashem’s glory. (Rabbi Sholom Smith, The Pleasant Way: Adapted from the Teachings of Horav Avrohom Pam, p. 175)