Monday, March 28, 2016


I was once listening to a Rabbi Yisroel Reisman CD on the topic of Shimshon. Contrary to popular belief, Shimshon was not a strongman because he was a nazir; the superhuman strength stemmed rather as a gift from God.
So how was it that when his hair was shorn, so was his power? Because he himself said: "The reason for my strength is from my hair." He went and put earthly boundaries on a divine gift, and by doing so, he caused his own failure. It was one thing when he thought it; then he gave it mamashus, substance.

"Ah," the Eibishter said. "The strength comes from your hair? So be it." 

There are many thoughts that are harmless, but they can wreak havoc when they are spoken and given weight.  

It always gets me nervous when people try to pin explanations on that which cannot be explained. It's not really a question to ask, since none of us can claim to know the divine workings of the universe. The same when someone attributes success to mortals—like when shadchanim are placed on a pedestal. 

"I can't do such-and-such because I am in shidduchim," is a comment that grates. 

If a marriage is meant to be, if it supposed to be bashert, can it be that my lipstick choice will torpedo it? My first motivation is not to be a hypocrite; if something is "okay" after a ring, it was "okay" while the finger was unoccupied.

"This shadchan," she says breathlessly. "She is the one to go to. She will get you a great guy." Without expecting anything, I went to the shadchan. Bupkis. 

I have this vision of my head of God saying, "Oh, so you can take care of it? You know the best way to get a spouse? Fine. I have plenty of other things to do." 

I also can't stand it when people minimize their own responsibility. Everything has an explanation for not owning life choices, from hormones to their mother to the bad sushi. Look through the Torah carefully; there are very few cop-outs. Because the Eibishter knows we can do better. Once "I can't" is in play, fuhgetabboutit. 

I try not to assign credit to any mortal for any good or bad in my life. I try not to pat myself on the back for deserving merit, since that blows up in my face faster than I can say "nazir."

Every time I hear Matisyahu's "Miracle," this one lyric hammers into my brain: Bound to stumble and fall but my strength comes not from man at all.

The path of self-congratulation is a short one. The more I see, the more I believe that the safest way to navigate this world . . . is to keep my mouth shut.      

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