Some self-improvement parables to ponder
By Rabbi Baruch Lederman
SAN DIEGO — Reb Yisroel Salanter, founder of what is now the worldwide Mussar Movement, said, “When I was younger I wanted to change the world. When I realized I couldn’t do that, I decided to change my city. When I realized I couldn’t do that, I decided to change my family. When I realized I couldn’t do that, I decided to change myself.”
“Soon after, I changed my family, then my city, then the world.”
A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean”, she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”
Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:
“Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.”
The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.
Dedicated by Fred Wolf in memory of Mrs. Ruth Fineman.
Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego. He may be contacted at email@example.com
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