Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On Being Old

Every Shabbos, I visit this little old lady, Mrs. Gold.  She’s very cute, a real young at heart 90-something year old. She loves it when we come, singing Yiddish songs, telling us about her week, and sharing stories of her life.

One particular story that she loves to tell over and over again is about herself and a handsome young doctor. He was young, single, and good looking. All the women would go to the beauty parlor and hair salon to get made up before they went to visit Dr. Dave.  Though all the ladies fancied Dr. Dave, Dr. Dave fancied Mrs. Gold (before she married Mr. Gold, of course :P). Mrs. Gold’s first name is Dina, and Dr. Dave would chase after her saying “Dina, I want my dinna (dinner).”

She always ends this story with a little nostalgic smile, as if she wishes that she had married Dr. Dave.

I was thinking about it a few weeks ago.

When this lady (may she live until 120) passes on, one of the things I will most remember her for is this story of Dr. Dave, as well as the other stories she tells us every week.

The thing is that nearly all the stories she tells are from her early 20s – the age I am now.

What we do today becomes our stories of tomorrow, next year, ten years, fifty years from now.

I want my stories to be good ones. Stories of chessed and kindness, of selflessness and giving.

And if that’s the way I want to be remembered, I’d better start living up to that future memory.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Random Question

Does anyone else find the journey's song "The Shadchan" (lyrics here and sample music here) depressing?

I feel like it's supposed to be inspiring; I even saw a website call it whimsical.  But somehow, I always feel like crying when I hear it. Lately (read: since I started shidduchim), I've just been skipping it whenever it comes up.

Anyone else out there feel this way?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Straightening my Priorities

Well, finals are finally over, so now I can focus on what’s really important in life – life itself and the lessons that it teaches me. I’ve been sitting on this for a while, but this is the first chance I’ve had to write it down.

I was at my friend’s house towards the end of shabbos a few weeks ago. I was sitting on the couch talking to my friend, and her 11 year old brother was reading near us.  It was getting close to the time for ma’ariv.  He didn’t show any signs of letting go of his book, so I told him to put it down and go.

He refused.

I asked him again, but in a different way – “What’s more important to you, davening ma’ariv or reading your book?”

Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), he answered “my book.”

I wasn’t shocked at his answer, but I was kind of upset. I kept thinking, “How could he consider his book more important than davening to Hakadosh Baruch Hu?! How could he have his priorities so backwards?”

It kept bothering me until I realized something.

It’s always easier to see faults in others than in ourselves. The thing is that the faults we subconsciously look for in others are those that hold sway within us. As the pasuk in Mishlei (27:19) says, כַּמַּיִם, הַפָּנִים לַפָּנִים--    כֵּן לֵב-הָאָדָם, לָאָדָם.  (“As in water, face answers to face, so is the heart of a man to a man.”) A person sees himself reflected in his perception of others.

What I saw in my friend’s brother was a flaw, but it was a chisaron (lack) that I myself have.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about my t’fila.  I’ve noticed a real lack in kavana (concentration). I’m constantly distracted by other things.  I push davening off until the last minute before the zman (time limit). I think about school or work or anything that’s not davening. I hardly look at the words inside my siddur.

And I ask myself, as I asked my friend’s brother a few weeks ago, “What’s more important to you, davening or <fill in blank>?! ___ or speaking to Hakadosh Baruch Hu?!”

And I’m scared to hear my own answer.
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