0 Posted by - March 11, 2016 - Parsha, Shemot


Parashat Pikudei

Mordechai was known to be ורצוי לרב אחיו, accepted by most of his brothers. (10; 3) The Talmud (Megillah 16b) deducts, “And not accepted by all of his brothers.” The Talmud has its way of dealing with this, deducing from here, what it deduces, which I will not discuss. The Ibn Ezra’s commentary gives an explanation different from that of the Talmud. He writes, “Because it is impossible to be accepted by everyone, for people have jealousy”. Mordechai was not accepted by everyone, because no matter how great of a deed you do, you will always have someone who will not agree with your way. And that’s fine.

The Midrash Shmuel writes that this is what is meant in the Mishna in Avot, כל שרוח הבריות נוחה הימנו רוח המקום נוחה הימנו…, Anyone who people find pleasant, G-d finds pleasant. And anyone that people do not find pleasant, G-d does not find pleasant. (3; 10) The Mishna does not say, Anyone who everyone finds pleasant, G-d finds pleasant, because it is impossible to make everyone think of you as pleasant. We do not pay attention to the minority of people, who find you to be displeasing.(See Tosefot Yom Tov)

R’ Yisrael Salanter was quoted as saying that a Rabbi who does not have “some” people not happy with him is not doing his job correctly. If you are successful, people will be jealous, which translates into enemies. If you are not successful, and no one has anything to be jealous of, and you are not standing up for any value, no one will have anything bad to say about you.

Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” We can tweak that a bit. You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time. There will always be opposition to anything great and deserving of fame that you do. My best articles got the most “opinions”. That’s how I know that they were such great articles. You can never make everyone happy, even if you discover the cure for cancer, or build the biggest yeshiva in the world. In marketing, if you try to market to everyone, you will get no one. If you try to make everyone happy, no one will be happy. If you try to write an article to all audiences, no one will read it. If you build a yeshiva for everyone, no one will come. If you say that you are a coach for all life problems, no one will call you for your services. The only way to please customers/ yeshiva students/audiences, etc., is if you know how to please only “some” of the people, and if you are able to say, “this client is not for me”. If you are not able to do that, for some reason, you cannot win.

Allow me to take this a step further. We all have a responsibility in life, to ourselves. That responsibility is to be successful. It is your responsibility, given to you by G-d, because that is the way G-d hardwired humanity to feel good. G-d expects you to feel good, to be happy with yourself, to love yourself, as is obvious from the Mitzvah to “Love your friend like you love yourself”. And you love yourself the most when you are successful. It is up to each and every one of us to decide for him/herself what success really, really means, and to do everything possible to go in that direction. And the success that I am talking about is not success in something empty, like something materialistic. Rather, I mean being successful in something of true value and importance. Like being altruistic, or being G-dly.

But, some people wait for the recognition of others to feel importance, or to feel success. They never sit down and decide, inside themselves, what is a real value, so they wait for other people to decide, to comment, in order to feel sure that their own judgment is right. And that is why, they are so sensitive, to any small comment.


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