Minute 775: Could’ve Done Better

It wasn’t the first time Chaya was upset with her spouse’s actions. She strongly believed that his inappropriate behavior was based on a weakness in character that she somehow failed to see during their dating period.

“I really think I might have made a mistake,” she confided to her mother. “Reuven would never do such a thing. Maybe I should have married him.”

“You might feel that you’re making a valid comparison, my dear, but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions,” her mother replied. “You dated Reuven more than a few times, but in every one of those situations both you and he were out to impress and were on your best behavior.”

“You’re so wise, Mom,” Chaya said. “I guess I didn’t see what Hashem didn’t want me to see. He chose my spouse, so my husband must be the best one for me.”

Dissatisfaction with another is exaggerated by disappointment. One expects that one’s assessment is based on true knowledge of the character of another. Whether spouse, friend or employee — one will not be able to see the whole person until a reasonable amount of interaction takes place. When dating or interviewing, everyone is on his/her best behavior; a true picture is hidden from view. One’s self-confidence is shattered by reality when the other person doesn’t live up to the perfect picture one has painted. Disappointment may transform into anger or hate.  The comparison to what one “could have” had is the icing on the cake.

However, the comparison is also false. The one you feel you missed was probably someone who was on his/her best behavior during the limited contact you had. Accept reality. No one’s perfect. And living with someone is not at all like dating.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Modesty is much more than a way to dress; it is much more a manner of conduct. Tznius is so precious that it is “befitting” even the Shechinah. The Midrash Tanchuma (Parashas Bamidbar 3) relates that with the inauguration of the Mishkan, Hakadosh Baruch Hu praised the virtue of tznius; with the Mishkan complete, Hashem would now speak with Moshe Rabbeinu surrounded by the privacy of the Mishkan. (Harav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, The Torah Home, p. 117)

Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.