A friend of mine’s boss has consistently proven to be an unctuous and vindictive so and so (at least that's how he was fond of expressing it). He was relaying his frustration at the Shabbat table, and another friend said, “That's good.”

“What?" I asked, "How could he be so fake to everyone?”

“Fake is good,” my friend said. “Imagine if he walked around just being who he really is. At least he gets up every day and puts on a smile and the appearance of good behavior.”

I thought about it walking home and realized that he was right. When we think about the wolf in sheep’s clothing, no one ever takes the time to think that the wolf might just be trying its best to behave. I thought about it in terms of my own inner misanthrope, and how very little I do to control him. Here I am disliking this person, and yet he’s ten times better at reining in his egoism than I am. I need to learn from this man. If he offered a class, I would take it.

What have you guys learned from someone’s behavior this year?