Don't Get Offended
Tzav (Leviticus 6-8 )
The less we let ourselves feel insulted by other people's comments or opinions of us, the happier we'll be. In the Purim story, Haman was so offended when one person out of an entire country didn't honor him as much as he wanted, that he acted in a way that caused himself to lose everything he had. It makes so much more sense - not to take offense.
In our story, a kid has to choose whether or not to let an insult make her lose.
INSULT OR INJURY?
"Judy, get ready, it's almost your turn again," Linda smiled at her friend and star of their summer camp's Olympics' gymnastics competition.
But instead of getting a smile back from the talented, athletic girl, her comment was met with a frown. "Why should I bother?"
"What's the point of doing a gymnastics routine if no one appreciates it?" Judy said with a toss of her head.
"What are you talking about?" Linda asked, confused. "You got amazing scores from the counselor-judges - almost all 'nine's' out of ten - on your last routine. You're a champ; a real winner."
"Apparently judge number three doesn't think so."
"In case you didn't notice, she only gave me a 'six' when she held up her scorecard."
"Yes, and to tell you the truth, I think it's quite insulting that..."
"Next up, Judy Rider," the master of ceremonies announced over the microphone.
The girl didn't move.
"Hurry, Judy," Linda urged.
"Go tell the MC that I'm dropping out of the competition."
"Dropping out? No way, you can't be serious. You practiced so hard all summer for this event and you're almost a shoe-in for the gold medal!"
Judy shrugged. "I don't care. I'm just very offended over that terrible score the judge gave me."
"But that was only one judge out of six." Linda said. "There were five judges who thought you did great. Besides, why should you care what anyone else says? You know you worked hard, you know you have talent and you love gymnastics. Go out and do the routine, not for the judges-but for yourself!"
Judy looked into her friend's pleading eyes. What she was saying did make some sense. Should she really blow off the highlight of her summer just because someone's low opinion of her?
"Last call for Judy Rider," the announcer said.
Judy dashed to the stage, and, putting her previous offense behind her, threw herself into her routine and got a standing ovation.
She looked up at the large, printed scorecards the judges were holding up. Straight 'nine's! Even from the judge who'd previously given her a 'six' - she'd won the gold!
She walked to the judges' stand to receive her camp Olympics gold medal.
"Sorry about the mix-up," counselor-judge number three smiled at her as she placed the medal over Judy's head.
"What do you mean?" the girl asked.
"I was a little embarrassed when I held up the scorecard upside-down on your previous routine."
"I realized afterwards that the upside-down 'nine' must have looked a lot like a 'six', but don't worry, I wrote the correct score of 'nine' on the score sheet. Sorry about the unfortunate mistake."
"That's okay," Judy said as her mind spun around over the nearly much more unfortunate - and foolish - mistake she almost made of messing herself up by getting insulted and letting someone's opinion change her own opinion of herself.
Q. How did Judy feel at first about doing her gymnastics routine?
A. She didn't want to do it because she was insulted that one of the judges gave her a bad score.
Q. How did she feel afterwards?
A. She decided not to let someone else's opinion make her feel offended or bad about herself.
Q. What life-lesson do you think someone could learn from this story?
A. It's easy to let ourselves get so insulted by someone's seemingly unfair or unkind comments or opinions of us that we think badly about ourselves or even make choices that aren't good for us. It's so much more productive to not pay too much attention to people's opinions of us, but instead believe in ourselves and always do the best we can.
Q. What are some ways we can prevent ourselves from becoming insulted or offended?
A. One way is to remind ourselves that our value is not determined by what anyone thinks of us. Rather, we are valuable just by being human beings and creations of God. Also, we can try to focus on our positive qualities and remember that even the greatest people have had those who tried to put them down.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Do you think it's justified to return an insult to someone who has insulted us? Why or why not?
A. Although it will surely feel tempting to do so, we'll be acting in a far more spiritual way if we don't. Two wrongs don't make a right and not only will we feel better about ourselves if we act in a more elevated manner, but we might even, through example, influence the offender to better his or her ways.
Q. Do you think it's possible for a person to be liked and approved of by everybody?
A. While some people are more popular than others, there is virtually nobody who will not rub the wrong way or meet the disapproval of someone. Therefore, since we're never going to please everybody, there is no sense even trying and we'll be far happier if we try to please ourselves in a deep way by living up to our higher values.