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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Inside Out

Yoma 72

Am I keeping it real or is my life a façade?

The Ark in the Holy Temple, says the Torah, must be covered with gold outside and inside.  The fact that it should covered on the outside makes sense – that’s what everyone sees!  But why on the inside?  Rava explains that the Ark, which carried the Two Tablets of the Covenant and the Torah scroll, represents a Torah scholar.  Any scholar whose interior is not like his exterior does not deserve to be called a scholar.

The Talmud is teaching us that need to be honest, sincere, true people both on the outside and on the inside.  If we feel that we are putting on a show for others and that’s not who we really are, then that’s a problem.  We need to work on refining our character until we truly feel that the ‘me’ that I am portraying to the world is the same ‘me’ that I see in the mirror.

This idea of the external and internal ‘me’ extends to my family life.  Some of us are such wonderful, lovely people when we meet strangers in the street, when we go to work, when we are involved with our community.  But then when we get home – on the inside – we become different people.  Rava is asking us: Are we treating those on the inside the same way we treat those on the outside?  If not, G-d forbid, we are fooling everyone (except those closest to us) as to who we really are.


Next time you are about to raise your voice at your child, ask yourself, if s/he were a colleague, would I react the same way?  Next time you are about to make a hurtful comment to your spouse, ask yourself, would I talk to my boss like that?  It’s not easy being nice all the time – but the greatest challenge is that who we are on the ‘inside’ always matches up to who we are on the ‘outside.’