ARTICLES

THE BISCUIT THIEF

RABBI MOISHE BRANDEIS

Feb 7, 2010

 

I recently came across the following story from Rabbi Hanoch Teller. A woman who was waiting for her flight at an airport went to buy a packet of biscuits and a newspaper and sat down to enjoy her snack. The bag of biscuits lay on the seat next to her and as she skimmed through the paper, she reached out and took a biscuit from the packet. To her surprise the woman next to her nonchalantly reached into the bag and helped herself to a biscuit. “Strange she didn’t even bother asking for permission” she thought. She continued reading and soon reached into the bag for another biscuit. Sure enough a moment later the other woman took one too. “What chutzpa! She is eating half my biscuits!”
 
The same thing repeated itself until there was only one biscuit left in the bag. She waited to see what would happen. Sure enough the other woman reached into the bag, took out the remaining solitary biscuit, cracked it in half and returned one half to the bag and ate the other. “Incredible! Just incredible. What messed up character traits this lady has!”
 
Incensed, she was about to rebuke the biscuit thief when the loudspeaker announced her flight. She stood up and walked away and as she reached into her bag for her boarding pass, she brushed against something. She looked down and to her horror, there were her biscuits, sealed and untouched. She was the biscuit thief.
 
She rushed back to apologise but the other woman laughed off the incident saying that she was on a diet anyway and did not need the calories. “She didn’t even mind! Incredible! What must she have been thinking? What wonderful middos (character traits) this lady has!”
 
This story resonates with us, as we face imminent judgment during the High Holy Days. What can we do to facilitate a positive outcome? The Talmud teaches that, “A person who can overlook wrongdoings against him, will have his own sins removed”. If we make a conscious decision to see others in a favourable light, we too merit being judged positively.

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