Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Kislev 5759 - November 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Know Thyself
by Rosalie Salzman, Petach Tikva

Two events occurred recently which made me believe that I'm not doing too badly as a mother.

My son came home with his baseball bat and said some of his friends had wanted him to leave the bat with them and said that they wouldn't be his friends if he refused. He told me, "What do I care? My real friends will play with me whether I leave it there with them or not."

One morning I asked him if he had brushed his teeth. He said, "Yes." I told him I didn't believe him and he calmly replied, "Don't believe me. I know the truth and I did brush my teeth." My son, until 120, is eight.

Now somewhere along the way, I must have done something right to raise a child with such maturity and self-confidence, but were you to ask me exactly what it was, I couldn't tell you. (Perhaps it's knowing he's his mother's inspiration.)

There is a problem when people can easily enumerate their shortcomings and al chets, but are more hesitant or misguidedly humble to celebrate their accomplishments and mitzvos. Gratitude towards others is a mitzva and so is appreciating the good in ourselves. How often has it happened that someone has thanked us profusely for something we've done for them, and we can't even recall what they're referring to?

We only recite the al chets one day a year. During the months excluding Elul and Tishrei, we can let this aspect of self-blame recede somewhat in the background as we try to forge forward and dwell on the task of mitzvos to perform, the positive progress and contributions we make. If we do, maybe then we'll also have the courage to say, "I know the truth." If we see good in ourselves, we'll learn to see the good in others and we'll get to enjoy reaping what we sow.


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