Shul Slights and The Bigger Picture

The Talmud [Rosh Hashana 17A] teaches that one who is “ma’aveer ol midosov” (willing to overlook it when he’s been wronged) has his transgressions overlooked. Rashi there explains that the Attribute of Justice doesn’t scrutinize such people or their actions. The ‘mirror in the sky’ reflects onto us the way that we treat others. (Translation from

We create our own spiritual reality by our thoughts, speech and actions as the above Talmudic passage highlights. Part of that spiritual reality is determined by our willingness to look at a bigger picture. Jewish issues such as judging people favorable, giving the benefit of the doubt, and not taking revenge are partly based on seeing a bigger picture.

An example of this was brought home to me recently. A member, who probably didn’t read the The Stress of Yomim Noraim Seating post was complaining about a small seat price anomaly that was effecting his family. Although I wasn’t personally involved in the pricing, I tried to explain that it was rooted in a larger goal of keeping our base membership price very low for a Shul with our breadth of services.

Shul administrations have to take the entire memberships needs into account, whether that involves fees, davening length, or air conditioning settings. They’re forced to look at a bigger picture and usually some trade-offs are involved and some members may feel slighted even though that’s not the intent. Rosh Hoshana is a good time to look at these issues from a wider perspective so we will merit to have Hashem look at our mistakes and deficiencies from a wider perspective.