http://revach.net/article.php?id=4303

Section: Stories   Category: Mashal
Do You Think You Know When The Jar Is Full?
Here is new twist on an old story.  A professor comes into class and lays a large glass jar on his desk.  He then takes out a three large rocks and puts them in the jar filling it to the top.  He turns to the class and asks, "Is the jar full?"  "Yes" comes the overwhelming response.  "Really?"  He then takes out a bag of small stones and pours them all into the jar, as they settle between the larger rocks. "Is it full now?" "Yes, now it is full", screams the class.  "Really?"  He then pours a full bag of sand into the jar.  "Is it full now?"  By now the class is completely silent as the professor then pours a glass of water into the jar.  "Now the jar is finally full" said the professor.

Often times where hear something that someone did and we are quick to condemn them.  After all we know the story, and it is obvious that they deserve our scorn.  But first think for a moment.  Hearing the deed (usually fifth hand) is merely the large rocks.  It doesn't really tell the whole story, or fill the jar so to say.  The smaller rocks are the details that we didn't think we needed to complete the picture.  Even after hearing the details, we still don't know the background, which is the sand that finds room for itself between the small rocks.  What was going on at the time?  What other side factors were involved?  What pressures were they under, whether financial, social, or physical?  Even if we knew all that we still have no right to condemn. 

Each person's actions are based on there predisposed character, as well as the sum total of their millions of little and big life experiences.  Were you with this person every step of the way?  Even if you were, the Mishna in Pirkei Avos (5:17) tells us, "Arba Middos B'Yoshvim Lifnei Chachomim", four people can hear the same lesson from the wisest of teachers and can still walk away with four completely different messages from it.  Do you know what lessons were taught to them and how?  Was their impact muted by the contradictions they later witnessed?  Were these messages received in a clear manner or as mixed messages?  Do you know the impact of all the individual disappointments and successes in their life?  Do you know the pain they carry in their heart?  Sure none of this is an excuse to do the wrong thing, however to condemn is to say that we know all this and if it were us it could never have happened.  And how do we know this?   Our limited information does not make up the tip if the huge iceberg that this person is carrying around their neck.

"Al Tadin Es Chavercha Ad Shetagia Limkomo", do not judge your friend until you are in an exact similar position, say Chazal (Pirkei Avos 2:5).  Unfortunately we understand that to mean that we may judge our friend if we assume we understand his position.  But this can never be, as no two people are even remotely alike if we look at their multiple layers.  This goes beyond the insanity of judging someone you just met or only viewed from afar, based on what they said, or worse yet merely by the way they carried themselves or the way they dressed.  This even applies to a sister or brother, a son or a daughter, or even a friend who you grew up with and were inseparable from for the last 30 years.  No one knows enough to ever condemn.

Read the newspapers or listen to the gossip and you probably don't have the barest of facts straight.  But even if you know first hand, what do you really know?  "HaYotzer Yachad Libam HaMeivin El Kol Maseihem", He who created their heart and their personalities knows the nisayon that He puts us up against.  We are quick to believe that we see a full jar, but only Hashem knows when the jar is really full, so leave it up to Him.