Seems to be a synonym for summer, sunshine, and the understandable inability to sit in the office or home when the world outside looks so much nicer, and the year-long fatigue and stress feels so heavy.
Being no different than the common man, I too went on vacation this summer, for a weeklong adventure with my wife and kids. In order to really “shut-down,” I decided years ago to put everything in place….so that my cell would remain off the entire week, and I could take a neder [vow] that I would not look at my email till the vacation would come to it’s inevitable end. I wanted to totally “relax,” and thus become unconnected, if even for just a few days.
Not having to run to respond to calls or messages, one’s mind and heart can actually think about aspects of life that are usually (and perhaps unfortunately) not on the agenda. So, allow me to share one such experience from the above “technology free” escapade.
If you’re not traveling, it’s safe to assume that you see your family each day. And yet, while frequently looking at them, hearing them and even giving them a hug before bed, how many of us actually speak to them?
How many of us actually acknowledge their existence, know what they’re going through, what experiences they endured (for better or for worse) and how they’re feeling (and not just physically)?
On the other hand, take the very same questions and ask them about…your work. I think it’s safe to submit that anything you’re responsible for at your workplace, you know about! If you are not updated on changes or glitches, you would be rather annoyed at yourself or those under you. You are on top of every incoming email,have returned every message in your voice mail, and have an organized schedule to attempt to meet all the objectives and requirements of the job.
So why isn’t that true at home?
Perhaps this known scene, from one of the most known Jewish movies of all time, might be able to shed a bit of light on this quagmire;
Tevye: …Do you love me?
Golde: Do I what?
Tevye: Do you love me?
Golde: Do I love you? With our daughters getting married And this trouble in the town You’re upset, you’re worn out Go inside, go lie down! Maybe it’s indigestion
Tevye: Golde I’m asking you a question… Do you love me?
Golde: You’re a fool
Tevye: I know… But do you love me?
Golde: Do I love you? For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes Cooked your meals, cleaned your house Given you children, milked the cow After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?
Tevye: Golde, The first time I met you Was on our wedding day I was scared
Golde: I was shy
Tevye: I was nervous
Golde: So was I
Tevye: But my father and my mother Said we’d learn to love each other And now I’m asking, Golde Do you love me?
Golde: I’m your wife
Tevye: “I know…” But do you love me?
Golde: Do I love him? For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him Fought him, starved with him Twenty-five years my bed is his If that’s not love, what is?
Tevye: Then you love me?
Golde: I suppose I do
Tevye: And I suppose I love you too
Both: It doesn’t change a thing But even so After twenty-five years It’s nice to know
[Lyrics taken from http://www.stlyrics.com/
After this week of vacation, I’d like to submit that anything Frequent in our life tends be Forgotten! Something we see every day does not rank high on our list of concerns, and therefore, we just naturally forget about it.
It takes a step back, a trip away, in order for us to actually acknowledge those we see day in and day out. It’s incumbent upon any husband/wife or parent to not only support their family, insure a roof over their heads and food in their refrigerator, but to speak to them, joke with them, and insure that you know what’s happening in their world.
About the Author: Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein is Director of training and placement at The Straus-Amiel Institute at Ohr Torah Stone.
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