Monday, December 5, 2011

So What If I'm Right?

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman is my main man. Nearly every Motzei Shabbos, I go to his Navi shiur. He rarely disappoints.

One week, he really made me think. He described two situations:

Everyone has heard of the Wright Brothers, the inventor of the airplane. The thing is, there was some problems with the patents, so as soon as it was out there it was being knocked off. The Wrights fought tooth and nail for the rights to The Airplane,  and eventually succeeded. However, the rights did not provide them with financial success, and their images were tarnished as the country went from seeing them as heroes to considering them greedy. Neither brother married; they had no time. Wilbur died at 45. Orville remained in the bike shop.

Then there is . . . I forget his name. No one has really heard of him. He is an inventor of a form of plastic, but instead of zealously guarding the rights he worked with other companies, and became very wealthy.

The moral being here is that yes, one can be right. But does it pay?

I was having this internal debate for a long time. I travel on the train every day, where inevitably some commuter pulls out their cell phone and goes at it. It doesn't even matter if they keep their voices low, I can still heeeeaaaar you. I would glare to no avail. And being young, I don't feel it proper to tell 60 year old people to can it. With some, requesting a lowered voice would get one a chilly and awkward train ride while the pitch remains the same.

I feel even worse when the phone talker is Jewish and disturbs the whole train. It happens often, too often (if you're going to talk, take off the kapul, okay?) 

The train announcements regularly exhort riders to have consideration for the fellow passengers by keeping conversations short and speaking softly. Doesn't help much. 

Yes, I'm right. But so what? No one is getting rid of their phones, or waiting until they get to the office to call up Grandma. Text has helped things a little, except many have loud sound effects for "new message."

Phones are today's greatest tool against boredom and looking busy, and no one is giving it up fast.

I came upon the perfect solution. Positively brilliant in its simplicity.

I want a quiet train ride to read or nap without being forced to hear other people's stupidity ("Wadyasay? Wadyasay? Wadyasay?")

I tried it today. It was great. Some sound came through, but I couldn't discern actual words. Taking a boring book with me, I dozed off pleasantly. Except I was sitting next to a concerned citizen who tapped me when there were still ten minutes left to the trip to tell me the last stop was coming up.

To finish off, a quote from the Rabbi of Lublin: "It is better to have an imperfect peace than a perfect controversy."

In order to have shalom, we have to be able to put aside our desire to be right. Because that isn't happening anytime soon.

1 comment:

Yedid Nefesh said...

my next post will be about that as well. Right and peace dont always go hand in hand :(