Ma’avir al Midosav — the pragmatics

In the previous entry, I tried to discuss the importance of being ma’avir al midosav, and some various approaches to defining this critical but rarely discussed middah. Although I did link to Rav Dessler’s list of possible first-steps to fulfilling this middah, I neglected to explicitly give suggestions for building this middah that someone could actually start doing today.Here’s some suggestions:
1- If you drive in highway traffic daily, you often have to deal with merging lanes. To be ma’avir al midosav is to realize that the other person has as much of a right to get ahead of you as you do of him. Accept upon yourself that at least once a day, you’ll yield to the other party. (This suggestion was made by someone in a room full of New York City drivers.)
2- If, on the other hand, you commute by public transportation, you have a similar situation when boarding or disembarking. Even if people respect the line, there are often times when it is a judgment call as to which one of you actually got on the line first. When getting off a train or bus, there is certainly no natural ordering. Will it make any measurable difference in your schedule if you allowed a person or two ahead of you?

Of Rav Dessler’s suggestions, the following may be easy first-steps. The others strike me more as being good for a second or third qabbalah (exercise), as the middah improves.

3- One conversation a day (perhaps choose your first conversation with your spouse after the children are asleep), make sure to allow the other person to speak about themselves rather than trying to dominate the conversation about “something similar happened to me…”

4- With one person, perhaps an employee, take care not to correct them harshly, but to stress the constructive aspect of your criticism.

5- Each day, find an interaction with another person in which that person showed an ability you lack. Everyone has their way in which they are superior to someone else. Realizing that helps us value others.

If others have their own suggestions, kindly share them in the Comments section.

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