“Fair and Balanced”? Tiferes Part III

Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. – Margaret Thatcher

Sometimes I think that is also true about having to tell people you are being fair and balanced. If you have to insist you are …

There is a story i heard many years ago, told about Rav Moshe Feinstein. Someone asked a student of Rav Moshe’s to describe something in which his rebbe stood out. The student said, “Rebbe was balanced in every way. He didn’t stick out in any respect.” One just looked at his whole life, and it was all what it should be.

Sometimes kindness is the right thing. At that time, there might be no need to insist on being strict just for the sake of balance. Just be nice. When we were first married, we invited a young mother with two young children over to our home for a Shabbos meal. We had yummy fruits for dessert, berries of some kind. The mother would not let her kids have any. There were no allergies involved, and no insects infecting the fruits! Yet I could read that the mother just felt that this was the time to inculcate some discipline and teach them about the dangers of instant gratification.

Being balanced is an overall lifetime mean, not meant to distort every act with overthinking. We Jews have known that when a political leader speaks of being neutral on a Jewish issue, that nothing but trouble will ensue.

Impartial judgment does not mean dividing the pie equally all the time. If that was the case, everybody would sue people all the time. And juries in complex prosecutions would be fooled into finding defendants guilty on 8 out of 16 counts. Oh, wait-

Others are good at giving signals, unwittingly. Those who are vocal critics will speak out regardless. You know what they think. But a good indicator that your sense of balance is skewed is when a friend or spouse or child is silent when presented with your behavior. No “Uh huh”, no small words of confirmation… The signals are there. Straighten yourself out.


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