In this week’s parsha we talk about the value of exploring the deeper meaning of things.
A man stands up in the synagogue one week and declares, “People, beware – Yankel is a thief!”
Upon discovering that this man had falsely slandered poor Yankel in public, the local Rabbi insists that he publicly take back his words to clear Yankel’s name, by stating that Yankel is not a thief.
And so, the following week, the man announces, “Yankel is not a thief?!”
Humor aside, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned here: just as this individual’s expression totally changed the meaning of his words, our personal representation of reality can sometimes color a situation to a point where it no longer resembles the truth.
They say “what you see depends on what you’re looking for,” an all-too familiar experience in our day-to-day lives. How often do we view things one way, only to later shift our perspective, and suddenly see something utterly different?
We find an instance of this in the Torah portion of the week, when the Jews scouting out the land of Israel discover the country’s colossal fruits; instead of recognizing the incredible blessing and beauty in these fruits, they view them as strange and unappealing, ultimately turning the people away from the Holy Land.
Similarly, many times in life we have preconditioned ideas about a particular person or concept; ideas which are not necessarily a reflection of the truth, but rather an expression of how we view the situation at hand. Let’s learn to take a step back and endeavor to see these realities in a different light; let’s challenge ourselves to look deeper, and let’s be open to recognizing that sometimes, we may have missed the truth of the matter.
I believe this message is a timeless one, for the possibilities to reconsider previous understandings of experiences and people in our lives, and ultimately to view them in a new light, are endless.
Let’s revisit those things we believe we’ve “figured out”…could it be, perhaps, there is more than meets the eye?