Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Only So Much

"You twisted, evil, useless, misbegotten scrap of metal!" I roared at my scale. "You lie!" 

I refused to believe that I could still be paying for one overindulgent Shabbos two weeks ago. I had been doing everything right, no cheating, the essence of calorie awareness. But the scale was unmoved, as it heartlessly flashed the same string of hopeless numbers, day after day. 

The next evening, I quite proudly sailed out the car, smirking at my watch. I left at the right time, I was even early. I confidently hit the road, only to be entangled in an impossible traffic snarl; I sheepishly slunk into my destination, feebly claiming innocence as I was greeted with admonitions for my tardiness.
 
Sometimes, we can be doing everything "right," and it just doesn't work. 

The old world, would you believe it, didn't invoke hishtadlus much. Perhaps because they truly knew that there really is a limit to choice and action, because tomorrow a pogrom or pestilence can lay waste to that which was meticulously built over years. 

We daven, we plead, we demand, but do we ever accept the answer? Sure, we claim we know that whatever Hashem decrees is for the best, but do we really believe it? 

I have been grappling with the purpose of davening for quite some time now, having brought my quandary to a number of rabbanim and women speakers, who haven't always been able to grant me the insight I seek. But this segment helped quite a bit, albeit regarding parenting:

. . . We have to beg the Ribono Shel Olam, as we say every day in Maariv, "Vesakeinu be'eitza tovah milfnecha. Set us right with good counsel from before you." We have to beg the Ribono Shel Olam to give us the wisdom to deal with these problems and to direct us to effective sources of counsel and guidance. Parents have to cry out to the Ribono Shel Olam, "This is my future, and this is what we're here for. Nothing else matters. Help us!"

Rav Yechezkel Abramsky zatzal, the great gaon and tzaddik, once walked into the apartment of the Brisker Rav in Yerushalayim and saw him and his children sitting around the table. The Rav was saying a dvar Torah, and his children were listening intently, their faces shining.

Later, Rav Abramsky asked the Brisker Rav, "What is the secret of your chinuch? How were you zocheh that every single child walks faithfully in your footsteps?"

"My secret in chinuch?" said the Rav. "Tehillim mit treren." Tehillim with tears.

That is the way to bring up children. Tehillim with tears. This potent combination gives us an awareness of how to protect our children our children from harmful influences. From this, we gain the sensitivity to understand how to speak to them, when to rebuke and when not to rebuke. From this, we gain the siyata dishmaya to inspire them to want to walk in the footsteps of their parents. And from this, the Ribono Shel Olam directly inspires them with yiras shamayim.With Hearts Full of Love, HoRav Marrisyahu Salomon

Davening is avodah, an act of service to the Beshefer, not merely an opportunity to pour forth our demands. We come to Hashem and say, "I know I am human. I know I have choice, however: I am asking from You assistance in that I make the correct choices, for me and my family, and may those choices, in turn, create a desirable result."

But that's not a guarantee. I am quite sure there were plenty of parents out there who did everything "right," and are sadly bewildered by the path their children took. 

As I date, I am constantly harassed at how I am not doing my part. I didn't go to that shadchan, I have "commitment issues," why didn't you say "yes" to that guy? The one that incites you into a murderous rage? 

I try to blandly deflect these statements, because although I still have yet to achieve true peace of mind, I have arrived to, at least, an awareness of acceptance. I really cannot do much more when it comes to dating. I can only say, "Look, the One and Only Matchmaker: I've done everything 'right.' But I know You are the One who brings it all about. So I'm going to leave it to You."

Isn't that the message of the story of Iyov? Hashem makes a bet with the satan, that even if all of Iyov's bounty is taken away, he will accept it. 

The next week, the scale proudly displays reasonable digits. I make it early, not late, to my appointment. 

But my date was not promising. 

Next time, maybe.      

5 comments:

The Professor said...

Have u heard of the fashion / clothing website runway2street.com? They have a well curated site and a pretty good selection of clothing, shoes and "beauty items"

Princess Lea said...

Haven't.

Oh my, the stuff is gorgeous. But does it all come from overseas? Try mailing it back if it's not the right size! I hate return shipping fees.

Princess Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Professor said...

The stuff is really nice. And no, its not all from overseas. Their return policy isnt bad.

Princess Lea said...

Their stuff is GORGEOUS. I can't look, it hurts my soul too much.