Double Standards. That's what the problem is.
I'm in a big rush so I can't give anyone a ride.... but she's so self centered and that's why she's not offering to take me home.
I forgot to invite her to my simcha- I'm only human... but what a chutzpah that someone should forget to invite ME...
I can forget to throw my socks into the hamper- sometimes I'm just soooo tired... but him? How dare he!
If any of these examples, or similar ones, just made your brain go 'oops', I think you'd better keep reading.
The Parsha this week, Shoftim, speaks about setting up judges and police to ensure some safety in da hood. Safety is a mitzvah. Seat belts, car seats, property and personal protection... it's all written in the Big Book.
But we're gonna talk about a different type of safety in a different kind of neighborhood.
The neighborhood I speak of is a small one, consisting of just one individual. Me. Well, that's who's in mine. You- are in yours. The point of us setting up judges and police people (gotta be politically correct) for ourselves is to apply constant supervision over all of our actions and motivation.
It is so so easy to find fault in others:
They're spoiling their kids- they really need some chinuch classes.
Why doesn't she go on a diet- doesn't she have a mirror at home?
He's so intense. Why can't he be more like...me?
You get the point.
We can blame others and we can judge others without the slightest bit of effort. But this can easily lead to arrogance and stagnation. We need to turn the microscope around and face it inward. Let's be a little self absorbed for once. Yes, we do have the obligation to make sure others are growing in the right direction... but not before we check our own compasses.
Ever been on a plane? Notice how the flight attendants make a whole performance about flight safety? When they act out the scene about what to do when there's a loss of cabin pressure, they tell you very clearly to first make sure your oxygen mask is secured and then reach over to help someone else.
Yeah, we like helping others improve. Something about that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Especially when we can be so focused on their issues and just put ours on ignore.
"Make for yourself judges and police", as it is written in the parsha, is our own personal obligation to keep taking notes, asking for directions, and reviewing our own behaviors in order to continue improving.
Before we make judgments about other people, we need to make sure to judge ourselves first. And then, fix whatever needs fixing.
Next time a child says to you, "When I get bigger, I wanna be a cop" tell him what a great idea that is.
Have a great shabbos!