Rabban Yochanon ben Zakkai said to his
students, “Go out and find the straight path – to which a person should devote
himself.” Rabbi Eliezer said, “A good eye.” Rabbi Yehoshua said, “A good
friend.” Rabbi Yosi said, “A good neighbor.” Rabbi Shimon said, “To foresee the
repercussions of your actions.” Rabbi Elazar said, “A good heart.”
Rabbi Yochanon responded, “I concur with
the view of Rebbi Elazar, for all of your ideals are contained in a “Good
Heart” refers to a person who is pleasing – and pleasant – to others. Primarily,
he has endless reserves of patience, distancing himself from every manner of
anger. He responds to everyone with gentleness, regardless of the circumstance.
What’s more, even if someone wrongs him, he bears it, without issuing a harsh
word. All of the words that flow from his lips are sweet and
of such inner excellence is good to his family, friends, neighbors, as well as
to the entire world. He also possesses the golden trait of generosity. For if he
dedicates his heart and spirit to fulfill the will of others, he will surely
grant them financial assistance.
Heart” includes every other good virtue because the steadfast desire to do
absolute good, regardless of circumstance, is more difficult to attaint than the
performance of a good deed. For it is easier to move one’s body to do a good
deed, than to devote one’s entire heart – unequivocally – to goodness, decency,
and bringing joy to others.
merit the wonderful character trait of a Good Heart,” then we will be pleasing
and pleasant to all of our family, friends, neighbors as well as the entire
the commentary of Rabenu Yona]
TODAY: Make a special effort to say a kind
and pleasant word to every person with whom you come in contact.