After the Great Flood Noach became drunk and exposed in his tent. His son Cham saw his father’s shameful state and ran to report it to his brothers, Sheim and Yafes.
The Torah describes how they both took a garment and walked backwards into Noach’s tent, averting their gaze to cover him. While it seems obvious already, the Torah goes on to stress that Sheim and Yafes did NOT see their father’s nakedness.
This comes to teach us that they acknowledged the problem, but without getting stuck on it they moved on to find a solution. In contrast, Cham saw Noach’s flaw only, and unable to see past it how to help him, it reflected the same flaw in Cham.
‘People are our mirrors from G-d,’ taught the Baal Shem Tov.
What does this mean?
Our interactions with others are a mirror and help us discover more about ourselves and how we can help others grow with us.
When faced with someone’s shortcomings, do you:
A.) Respond with empathy and action, like Sheim and Yafes, asking yourself what you can learn from the situation or how you can improve it?
B.) React with criticism, like Cham, dwelling on the other person’s flaws non-stop, without it helping anyone?
Before losing ourselves in annoyance over someone’s imperfections, let’s take that moment and really tune in to its quiet message:
The key to transforming negativity we see around us is to start with us, within ourselves.