Moshe's purse was full of large golden coins. It was worth a
small fortune. But it was so heavy! "Oye!" thought
Moshe. "This is so heavy -- what a pain to have to carry
Sorah's new freezer was the latest model and it had a huge
capacity. Now she would be able to cook at least six months
in advance and prepare for family simchas. "But
it's so big and takes up so much room in the kitchen!"
Both Moshe's and Sorah's complaints are valid -- the purse
is heavy and the freezer is big. However, they both
appreciate the good aspect of their new acquisitions.
The point which needs to be made here is not that we need to
take the good with the bad and tolerate a little discomfort,
though this might be true.
In a situation like this, we need to understand that the
reason why it is bad is because it is good! If Moshe's purse
were to be less heavy, it would be less valuable because the
weight causes the value. Similarly, if Sorah's freezer would
be smaller, it would not be able to have such a large
capacity -- and she wants that large capacity.
In both situations, the good and the bad are the two sides
of the same coin.
Similarly, if you buy a big house, one side of the coin is
that you have plenty of room for family and guests, but the
other side of the coin is the heavy maintenance costs and
expenses and the necessity to check many rooms for
chometz before Pesach. Or, if you buy a powerful
heater, you can expect to get a big bill at the end of the
month. In both these examples, the "good" aspect is a
direct cause of the "bad" aspect and the "bad"
side is causing the "good" side.
The same principle applies to many aspects of human nature
and relationships. Often, we might like and appreciate
certain aspects of someone's nature and accomplishments, yet
be turned off by other character traits. Yet, often, the
undesirable characteristics are simply the "other side of
the coin" to the good aspects.
For example, a person might be very exact and precise, yet
take a long time to do tasks that other people can do
quickly. Or a child might be lively and cheerful and
enjoyable company, yet his teacher might find that he cannot
sit still in class. Or a person might be creative and
artistic but dream out when he attends a lecture.
When a "bad" aspect is a consequence of a good
aspect, it can be straightforward to attempt to improve the
"bad" aspect without endangering the "good' aspect. For
example, if a person is slow and methodical and needs to
complete a task by a certain time, he can start earlier than
other people. But when you are dealing with "the other side
of the coin," there is a danger that attempting to change
the "bad" side might harm the good aspect.
So, if we try to make the methodical worker work faster, we
might teach him to be sloppy, or if we try to get the lively
child to sit still in class, we might make him less
cheerful. Similarly, trying to get the dreamer to focus more
intently might decrease his creativity.
Herein lies the danger in simply relating to the "bad"
aspects of a person's performance, without relating also to
the good aspects. This is especially critical when dealing
with children. Curbing good traits and suppressing talents
at that stage can subdue them for life. Therefore, when
dealing with children, we need to be able to discern a
child's "good" points before attempting to remediate the