Monday, February 25, 2019

Looking for the Perfect One

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מפני מה לא נמשכה מלכות בית שאול מפני שלא היה בו שום דופי דאמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יהוצדק אין מעמידין פרנס על הציבור אלא אם כן קופה של שרצים תלויה לו מאחוריו שאם תזוח דעתו עליו אומרין לו חזור לאחוריך

-מסכת יומא דף כב:

R’ Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel. Why was it that the kingdom of Shaul (Saul) did not continue? I.e. why did it not become a lasting monarchy?
Because Shaul did not have any faults [with his lineage]. For R’ Yochanan says in the name of R’ Shimon ben Yehotzadak, we do not appoint one to be a leader of people unless he has a “box of vermin hanging behind him” (what we would call skeletons in one’s closet). So that if he starts becoming haughty, we tell him, look behind you (look at where you came from i.e. your lineage)
-Yoma 22b

When it comes to looking for others to fill a role, whether it be a new employee, a spouse for oneself or one’s children, etc. People tend to look for perfection. Many end up “settling” for less than what they hoped for, others are still waiting for the “perfect one”.

The above gemarra teaches us an eye opening lesson.

Perfection is it’s own fault!!

No, it isn’t talking about perfectionism, where people have an unhealthy desire to do things perfectly. It is talking about actual perfection!

Every single person, from pauper to king needs to be able to accept constructive criticism.  The gemarra is teaching us that a king who cannot be criticized isn’t worthy of a lasting dynasty.

But to truly understand the weight of this lesson one needs to see the prior gemarra.
That’s where the gemarra discusses the holiness of King Shaul. How he was like a one year old baby, in that he never tasted sin. It is followed up by showing how R’ Nachman suffered for not showing King Shaul the proper respect.

So he never tasted sin, he was very worthy of respect, yet because he had perfect lineage, that’s why he could not have a lasting dynasty.

This teaches us two invaluable points.
1. That perfection is it’s own fault
2. That one needs to make themselves open to receive constructive criticism.
These are important lessons in all areas of life, perhaps it is most valuable in the area of shidduchim. Sometimes it is the boy or girl themselves, more often it is the parents who have a huge “checklist” of criteria that needs to be met in order for a shidduch to go through.

Just remember the gemarra in Yoma and stop searching for perfection, especially when it comes to family and yechus.

Even if you do end up finding it, you might discover that it isn't the positive that you thought it would be.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.
You can email Yisroel at
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