Minute #624: Bounce Off

A great Rabbi was once on a fund-raising trip for his yeshivah. He was taken aback when a rich potential donor slammed the door in his face. The insult, however, did not deter him from his mission. He calmly went to an office and called the rude businessman. Rather than reproving him, the Rabbi apologized for irritating the man.

“I understand, Rabbi,” the businessperson said. “You’re only doing your job. It’s no problem; apology accepted.”

“Thank you,” the Rabbi said. “However, I believe that someone who’s not ready to contribute to the support of a Torah institution should still appreciate the value of Torah study and refrain from insulting someone who represents a yeshivah.”

The remorseful businessman invited the Rabbi to return to his home and he subsequently gave a sizable donation.

The wrong reaction to an insult can prevent success in achieving a goal. When the “slap in the face” occurs, the recipient should stay focused on the main objective, thereby enabling him or her to ignore the slight. If one is trying to sell to another and the potential customer’s rude comment gets an equally rude comment in return, the odds for closing the sale go down to zero.

Even in social or family situations, avoiding argument in reaction to an affront enables you to complete the task you set out to do. Keep in mind what you are trying to achieve, and the abusive behavior will seem insignificant.

The way to “win” is to let the comment “bounce off” you, thereby allowing you to accomplish your original goal. By keeping your focus on your target, you will avoid needless disputes and become a high-scoring achiever.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Before we gratify a physical pleasure, we feel a strong drive and desire. But as soon as we have gratified the desire, we see how empty it really was. This knowledge can help you overcome forbidden desires. When you feel an urge for something forbidden, remember that the urge is only an urge and you will inevitably be disappointed with the actual experience. (Daat Chochmah U’mussar, vol. 3, pp. 97–8)