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.


Bookworm said...

Mammelah, he was 11. Did you ecstatically go daven at his age? I didn't, that's for sure. When it comes to the young, don't pile on too much pressure (especially since he's not even your brother). He'll get there.

itsagift said...

That is a powerful message.
We need to increase our love for davening by realizing what a special gift it is to be able to speak to Hashem at any hour of the day and how He really listens to our every word. Once we appreciate how lucky we are to be able to daven, we will not want to push it off!

itsagift said...

Oh, and welcome back to blogging! Glad you are finished with finals!

MusingMaidel said...

@bookworm - of course he's young. He has no chiyuv to daven, let alone go to shul. But that doesn't mean I can't take a message from what happened. After his response, I didn't say anything more.

@itsagift - thanks for the welcome back :)

Shades of Grey said...

I agree with bookworm - true a lesson was learned, but it really wasn't your place to tell him to go daven... you live and learn, I guess.

Duddes02 said...

I"m confused as to why you are telling an 11 year old, that isn't your child, to do something. I'm pretty sure you should just focus on your own life.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you are all harassing MM for telling a little kid to go daven. She didn't pressure him, she just told him once. Relax y'all! She was trying to bring a point across - with a lesson we can all learn. That wasn't even the point of this post, it was just a side point to bring out a message for all of us.

Take the lesson and don't nitpick!

Brochi said...

i was at the park with my kids yesterday. when i parted from my friend and her kids, i thanked her for her yummy choc cookies. that's when i realized i had forgotten to thank Hashem, the ultimate provider. i thought it so sad... so thanks for the reminder and inspiration. tefillah, like fire needs constant kindling.

sharona said...

great lesson

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