Daf Yomi Kesubos 86
Ever get one of those group emails where the person has forgotten to BCC everyone? Next thing you know, one of the recipients has ‘replied all’ with a message that they could have replied directly to the original sender alone. Somebody else then ‘replies all’ with one word ‘agreed.’
And you think, ‘Seriously? That’s why I have a hundred emails in my inbox today?!?’
I got one of those the other day, where the original sender had gotten confused about a certain city and called it a different one. My first instinct was to email him (only him!) and let him know that it was a different city. Then I thought, ‘First of all, it doesn’t really matter, people will figure out what he meant. And secondly, why should I be the one to give the negative feedback? No doubt someone else will be eager to alert him to his error!’ Sure enough, a few minutes later, someone ‘replied all’ telling him that he got the wrong city.
Concerning the court’s imposition of lashes, the Torah declares, “Forty shall you lash him no more, lest he exceed and beat him above these with many lashes, your brother may be dishonoured before your eyes.”
We learned in a Beraisa: When do we say these words (that there is a limit)? Regarding negative commandments. Concerning positive commandments, however, such as where we tell him to build a sukkah or to shake lulav, we don’t stop until his soul gets out.
When it comes to being negative, there are limits on how much we hit a person over the head, so to speak. But when it comes to the positive, there’s no limit to the amount of positive energy you can send your neighbour’s way.
Sometimes you need to admonish someone for doing the wrong thing. Most of the time, you could probably avoid the negativity and just let it go. But if you must criticize, the Torah warns you to be succinct. In contrast, our Sages instruct that there’s no limit to the amount of encouragement and positivity you can give others. Keep giving it until you see their soul get out, until you see some sign of life!
When you encounter negative people, you need to assume that whatever they’ve been through in life has messed them up. Nobody wants to be a grumpy, negative person – they just don’t understand that positivity and happiness comes from the inside and that each individual has the ability to choose whether to live a life of joy and positive energy or whether to see the glass half or three quarters empty all the time.
When you keep in mind that whatever path has gotten you to this point of knowing how to draw down positive energy into your life has been a radically different path to theirs, first things first you’ll utter a blessing of thanks to the Almighty for having shown you the light! Next, you’ll want to share it with this poor individual that hasn’t been shown the light. Don’t give up – deep down they have soul. You just need to figure out how to bring out the best in them! Keep on encouraging them, don’t stop!
You don’t need to be the critic in life. Leave that job to the people that are running to say something negative, unfortunately there’s no shortage of them! May you merit drawing down positive energy into the lives of all around (and remember to BCC and think twice before hitting ‘reply all’!)