Minute #639: Opposite You

Mr. and Mrs. Levi enjoyed their weekly dinner date at a local eatery. During the meal, each inquired about the other’s day and they discussed matters of mutual interest. Most of their waking hours were spent carrying out various family responsibilities. They were good partners in the work of building a “bayit ne’eman,” and they had also learned to cherish their time together.

“Uh-oh,” Mrs. Levi said, “I don’t mean to upset you, but your beautiful tie has been hit with an aerial attack of spaghetti sauce.”

A quick look down, and Mr. Levi saw the spot. Rather than fret, he smiled at his wife and said, “It’s one of my favorites, but it isn’t new, and the cleaner might be able to get it out. It’s funny, but without you I probably would not have noticed it and would have continued to wear the tie despite the stain. I’m so lucky to have you opposite me when I eat.”

From the beginning, Hashem knew that man needed a companion to maximize his potential. “It is not good that man be alone; I will make him a helper corresponding to him” (Beresheet 2:18). This set the tone for all mankind.

A person comes into the world with strengths and weaknesses and is expected to build the positives and eliminate the negatives. The “stains,” however, aren’t visible from one’s own vantage point. Someone opposite oneself can see what one cannot.

Hashem’s plan was for everyone to benefit from criticism. The opportunity to grow comes from the view of one opposite you. Accept criticism with a smile.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

The heart is the seat of man’s thoughts, and the kidneys are the source of his ideas and planning. As Hashem has access to both the heart and the kidneys, nothing at all is concealed from Him; He knows everything that a person ever does, says or thinks. The phrase “Nothing is concealed from You” refers to Hashem’s knowledge of man’s thoughts and actions, while “Nothing is hidden from before Your Eyes” speaks of Hashem’s ability to see all objects in the earth. (Abudarham, commentary to Yom Kippur service)