Daf Yomi Yevamos 4
Emma was always hearing things downstairs at night. For years, she would tell Frank to check for burglars in the kitchen. Night after night, her dutiful husband would get back into bed and assure Emma that she was simply convincing herself. There really wasn’t anyone there.
One night, Emma wakes up Frank and like he would always do, he walks down the stairs half-asleep to take a look. This time, however, he finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun.
“Don’t make a sound,” the intruder says. “Just give me all your valuables.”
Frank gathers up the valuables and the burglar is one foot out the door when Frank stops him.
“Wait,” says Frank, “You can’t leave yet. I need to take you upstairs to meet my wife. For the last thirty years, she’s been expecting you!”
The Gemara teaches: The principle we say is that if we have a positive commandment and negative commandment in conflict, the positive commandment overrides the negative. How do we know this? For the verse states, “You shall not wear shaatnez (wool and linen mixtures). . . . You shall make for yourself (tzitzis) tassels.”
Rashi explains: We expound the juxtaposition of these two laws and derive that shaatnez is permitted on tzitzis. Thus, we see that a positive (tzitzis) may come and override a negative (shaatnez).
In life, the positive must always override the negative. The more you tell yourself that something is so, the more you create that reality. If you think things are bad, then they will be bad. If you’ve decided that there are burglars in the kitchen, one day that might just happen. Of course, we can’t totally remove bad thoughts from our head. But your good thoughts must completely outnumber and override your bad thoughts.
And if this is the case for thoughts, how much truer is it for words! When you speak to your children, make sure that the positive, the praise, far outweighs the negative, the criticism. Psychologists say that the ratio must be at least 80-20. In other words, for every criticism you level at your child, you must have already heaped four praises upon them. And likewise for your spouse – just make sure that at the very least, you have a 20-80 ratio!!
The positivity in your life must always override the negativity! Are you known to be a kvetcher (complainer)? For every letter or email of complaint you send to your synagogue president, have you sent four letters of praise for the overwhelmingly positive experience you are having? Do you begin your critique by praising the positive aspects of the situation or is it all negative?
Stop thinking negatively! Stop talking negatively! The more you dwell on the negative, the more that becomes your reality. If you want a positive ride through life, then start thinking, talking and acting positively and you will see that magically everything around you will take a positive turn!