Who Ate My Cookies?
Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38 )
Douglas arrives early for a train, buys a cup of coffee, a newspaper, and a packet of cookies. He takes a seat in the station opposite a businessman. After a while the man leans forward, takes the packet of cookies, opens it, and eats one.
Douglas remains silent, but also reaches forward and takes a cookie. A minute later the man takes another, followed by Douglas. This repeats until the packet is finally empty. After exchanging looks, the businessman leaves.
Douglas gets up, wondering about the absurdity of a stranger having eaten his cookies without so much as a word exchanged between them. He picks up his newspaper, and that's when he discovers his full packet of unopened cookies.
How quick we can be to judge a situation that might not be quite how it seems?
In this week's Torah portion the Torah makes an accounting of all the money and materials used in the construction of the Tabernacle.
The Midrash (Tanchuma 7) says that one reason for this is that the people suspected Moses of using donations for himself. So the Torah specifies how each donation was used, subsequently clearing any suspicion.
Moses himself was still subject to suspicion by the people that he was leading!
It is the nature of man to suspect others of wrongdoing. Which is why the Sages warn us that we must work on going against this nature and judge everyone favourably.
We must work on training ourselves to think further then what first meets the eye, to ponder what might be going on behind the scenes, or why a person's behavior might not be quite what it looks like.
There is another side to every story... Things are not always as they seem.