To the obvious question – how can one remain calm while under verbal attack… or while receiving a parking ticket? In the moment of strife, one should strive to understand or see the perspective of the other. In addition, every challenge in life is an opportunity for growth if we can only see it that way and react accordingly.
Back to the parking ticket—how can we reframe a monetary nuisance as an opportunity for growth?
Lesson #1: If the meter expired and you get a ticket–whose fault is it? It is probably yours for not putting enough quarters in the meter. It is easy to blame the person who issued the ticket; had you been more careful, however, you would not have received it. Try to understand the perspective of the person issuing the ticket. He or she is doing a job and needs to earn a living, too!
Lesson #2: Pay more attention to the details. If you had set an alarm before the meter expired or spent more time looking carefully and reading the cryptic signs, chances are that you would not have received a ticket. Accept this as an expensive lesson in paying more attention.
Lesson #3: Losing money is an opportunity to assess how you spend your money; to determine whether this is what Hashem wants you to do with it. Perhaps the parking ticket is a signal that you did not give enough money to tzeddakah. The merit of charity lasts for eternity; money wasted is a reminder of the power of meaningful spending.
Lesson #4: Just as you willingly get on the elliptical or lift weights as part of your efforts to build muscle strength or tone your body, your response to the parking ticket provides you with an opportunity to build middos strength by controlling your anger and exercising patience.
Lesson #5: Hashem showers you with so much blessing, why are you focusing on the parking ticket? In the scheme of all the good that Hashem bestows upon you, most importantly life itself, why is the focus on the blip of the orange parking ticket?
Next time you get a parking ticket, remind yourself of these important life lessons. Remember, by controlling your anger and living a life of patience towards others, you will access spiritual blessings of a value beyond the cost of any parking ticket.
A little orange message that can teach so much!
About the Author: Rabbi Gil Frieman is the pulpit Rabbi of Jewish Center Nachlat Zion, the home of Ohr Naava. He is certified as a shochet, sofer, and has given lectures in the United States, Canada, and throughout Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Frieman is currently the American Director of seminaries Darchei Binah, Afikei Torah, and Chochmas Lev in Eretz Yisroel, and teaches in Nefesh High School, Camp Tubby during the summers, and lectures weekly at Ohr Naava. In addition, Rabbi Frieman teaches all tracks in Ateres Naava Seminary. He is a highly anticipated speaker on TorahAnytime.com where he speaks live most Wednesday nights at 9:00pm EST.
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