While we would rather hear only good things about ourselves, soliciting praise alone can be dangerous. Furthermore, people may be hesitant to share constructive criticism for fear of offending. How can we solicit and keep an open mind to constructive criticism?
During the Ten Days of Repentance we are taught that the performance of one good deed can tip the scales of judgment in our favor. Not only can the performance on a good deed tip the scales of judgment in your favor, it can improve the world for the better, as will be explained.
When we offend a friend the offense creates distance between. A successful apology can close that distance. But how does one successfully apologize?
It is taught that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit, but a close reading demonstrates that they were exiled for a subsequent offense. Furthermore, we think of Cain as a murder but if we look closely we see a man who desperately was attempting to draw closer to God. Was Cain able to truly repair his relationship with God after his sin? How can we repair our relationship with God?
Despite the fact that the Torah tells us that Noah was righteous, he was not chosen to be the first “Jew.” Why did God not choose Noah and what can we learn about how God wants us to relate to him?
Rabbi Steven Saks
Enjoy these sermons from Rabbi Steven Saks.