We told this story as part of our service yesterday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett.
In Hasidic tradition there is a beautiful story that illustrates the moral danger implicit in mirrors.
A very rich young man went to see a Rabbi in order to ask his advice about what he should do with his life. The rabbi led him over to the window and asked him:
“What can you see through the glass?”
“I can see men coming and going and a blind man begging for alms in the street.”
Then the rabbi showed him a large mirror and said to him:
“Look in this mirror and tell me what you see.”
“I can see myself.”
“And you can’t see the others. Notice that the window and the mirror are both made of the same basic material, glass.
“You should compare yourself to these two kinds of glass. Poor, you saw other people and felt compassion for them. Rich – covered in silver – you see yourself.
“You will only be worth anything when you have the courage to tear away the coating of silver covering your eyes in order to be able to see again and love your fellow man.”