והחוט המשולש לא במהרה ינתק!!!
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
1] What do you prefer more: What I write in my posts INSIDE the brackets or the regualr text without brackets.
2] Are my bracketed statements so long that you lose track of what I was saying?
3] Was this post a waste of your time? [If it was, I ask your forgiveness. While on the topic I ask your forgiveness for anything else I ever might have done or said, not done or not said that offended you.]
As I mentioned, someone with whom I have been davening for the last 5 plus years went to lie down two days ago for an afternoon nap and didn't wake up. He wasn't old and he wasn't ill. It happened just like that, out of the blue.
Nothing happens in a vacuum.
Today I was told that he had a tremendous amount of stress that he was holding inside. You would never know. He was very quiet, soft spoken, easygoing and minded his own business. He didn't exactly radiate joy but most people don't. Chasanim and Kallos radiate joy. That is because they are literally high on chemicals in their brain such as dopamine that make them so happy. All of us married are essentially in the same situation as a Chosson and Kallah - they are married and we are married. We just aren't particularly excited about it and they are. You won't meet a friend and ask him how he is and he'll say "AMAZING". Why, you inquire? "BECAUSE I GOT MARRIED", he replies. You make a quick cheshbon that his oldest is 16 years old and that he has only been married once.... Doesn't happen. No dopamine. [There should be more but is another shmooze]. Still, this man didn't seem particularly disturbed, just introverted. But now I found out how much pain and stress he was experiencing. THAT is [apparently] what killed him.
When I was a child of about 5 or 6 I learned a life lesson. A nice lady in school asked me how I am doing. I started telling her for real "I have been having this ringing sound in my ear that is bothering me...." I saw that she had tuned out [maybe to focus on the ringing sound in her own ear or maybe she was wondering that if it is ringing why don't I just pick it up??]. I learned then that "how are you" doesn't mean that the person really cares. It is another way of greeting you. So when I go to Fairway on 74th and Broadway and the black lady at the checkout counter with the long bright pink and purple fingernails named "Tasheeka" asks me how I am, she doesn't REALLY want to know. She is just doing her job. [I answer "GREAT TASHEEK!!! How's it by you??" One cashier in a supermarket once greeted me "How are you, sweetie" or with some other name of endearment. I am like "I just met you. I don't know if our relationship has reached that level yet..."] Only my shrink [full disclosure - I don't have one nor do I want one. When I get old imy"H, I will shrink. In the meantime, I have found my own ways of coping and being bi-simcha without having to pay someone 300 dollars to tell me how to cope and be bi-simcha when they themselves often aren't doing so well with their own life situation] is interested in how I am and the question "how are you?" is supposed to generate 45 minutes of interesting conversation, which may or may not help me but will certainly help him/her pay their mortgage...:-). But the average person's "how are you?" just means "hello, you exist. Later".
So here is the mussar haskel: BE THAT GUY/GIRL WHO REALLY CARES AND WANTS TO LISTEN. There are so many people out there who are under stress and wish they had an empathetic, listening ear. Studies have proven that people who feel that they have a loving support base live longer, healthier and happier lives. So you don't have to go to medical school to help people live longer. Just use those funny hamentashened-shaped organs on the sides of your skull and LISTEN. You will not only help other people but help yourself become more human.
דאגה בלב איש ישיחנה לאחרים!!
Monday, January 15, 2018
One thing that arouses my ire is when people are disrespectful and even insolent and impudent towards Rabbonim. They are often portrayed in the secular press and on blogs and websites as being backwards, still living in the middle ages, close minded and often much worse [money hungry etc.].
The reality is that at times there are certain rabbonim who have made statements with which one may not completely agree. I can't vouch for everything everyone with the title "Rav" says. But time and again when speaking to Rabbonim personally [and reading their writings], one is struck by their sensitivity, openness and willingness to hear new ideas [as long as they are not against halacha or principles of faith].
An example of this are the very liberal attitudes towards intimacy that we have seen recently. There is a level of kedusha that not everyone can reach where they are at the present time. For such people the Torah, and her representitive the Rabbonim, find ample room for leniency in order to allow people to be normal and themselves. Excessive suppression is not healthy and we want to produce healthy people.
Another example is the attitude toward mental illness. Their attitudes reveals great understanding and sensitivity and are deserving of our appreciation.
Again, from time to time we will hear things that are off the wall. Even in sefarim, people will write things [not halacha li-moshe mi-sinai] that are very hard to digest [and one famous Professor loves to find the wacky ideas and tell the world]. But all in all, Rabbonim are wise and rational people with a good heart.