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    Seeing only the good – Balak

    huggingRabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev had a surpassing love for the people of Israel.

    He quoted a verse in this week’s reading, “He has seen no iniquity in Jacob, no perverseness in Israel” (Num. 23:21). Levi Yitzchak said, “That is how a good person should act, not seeing evil in others but constantly looking for things to praise”.

    For him, the Almighty is the model to emulate: If the people of Israel sin, God doesn’t want to know. In His eyes they are good people, righteous, trying to do the right thing.

    We too should see only the good in others. This creates a problem, especially on Yom Kippur. How can we recite all those confessions of sins – “we have done wrong, we have spoken evil talk” – when God doesn’t want to know?

    The answer is that God is the judge, not us. We are afraid that we have sullied the good name of His people, and that He will say, “I have changed My mind about them!”

    We can only hope that He will find that our good deeds outweigh our transgressions. And high up on the list of good deeds is to be able to say, “We have tried at all times to judge others favourably”.

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