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  • Jodi Samuels

Fault Mirrors

Dubai is the new “in” place to visit. It’s my third trip here. This time JICNY has 2 groups with 120 young professionals all enjoying the sites, the glitz, glamour, sun and sea. It’s an added bonus that there are multiple kosher restaurants and communities for Shabbat. We are having a fantastic time.

I have led countless groups over the years and group dynamics on trips are always interesting and intense. It’s hard enough to please everyone at all times, and we all know that a group of Jews are the hardest of them all.

This week's Torah portion Emor can be described as the mirror of faults.

This portion of the Torah deals with personal injury. There is a phrase that many people know “An eye for an eye” and this was transmitted through the Oral Torah from the words "Just as he will have inflicted a wound on a person, so shall be inflicted upon him" (Vayikra, 24:20).

Rabbi Twerski shares that the Baal Shem Tov taught an important psychological insight. Inasmuch as people are generally in denial, they may be unaware of their character defects. Therefore, God shows them their character defect in another person. “The world is a mirror,” the Baal Shem Tov said. “The faults you see in others are your own.”

We each filter our unique perception of the world based on our individual needs and wants. According to the Baal Shem Tov our psychological defensive system operates to minimize our discomfort. It is easier to accept a character flaw within oneself if it occurs in others as well.

A trip is a great way to see the human psyche in action. People join trips for different reasons and at different life stages. Naturally, they experience their trip accordingly.

Imagine how different group dynamics would be if leaders and participants alike understood faults they attribute to others are probably their own.

Shabbat shalom


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