Ka-Mayim ha-Panim la-Panim . . .

A traveler nearing a great city asked a woman sitting by the wayside, “What are the people like in the city?”

“How were the people where you came from?”

“A terrible lot,” the traveler responded, “mean, untrustworthy, detestable in all respects.”

“Ah,” said the woman, “you will find them the same in the city ahead.”

Scarcely was the first traveler gone when another one stopped and also inquired about the people in the city before him. Again the woman asked about the people in the places where the traveler had left.

“They were fine people, honest, industrious, and generous to a fault. I was sorry to leave,” declared the second traveler.

Responded the woman, “So will you find them in the city ahead.”

-Arthur Lenehan, The Best of Bits and Pieces

Shlomo Ha-Melekh observed (Mishlei 27:19), “kamayim ha-panim la-panim ken lev ha-adam le-adam.”  Lehavdel, Johann Lavatar (1741-1801, who publicly challenged Moses Mendelssohn to convert to Christianity if he could not refute Charles Bonnet’s points in his essay on Christian Evidences) wrote, “You find all within yourself that you find without. The world that surrounds you is the magic glass of the world within you.”  Finally, Audrey Hepburn remarked, “You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than by what others say about him.”


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