web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



It’s How You Look At It

It’s hard to believe Rosh Hashanah is just days away. It seems like we were just putting away our Pesach dishes and hoping that the looming summer months would not be too unbearably hot and humid.


Now, suddenly, early autumn is upon us – with its promise of soothing cool breezes to chase away those damp, draining dog days of late summer.


And with autumn comes the Days of Awe, at which time we take time out from our busy lives, set aside the hustle and bustle and distractions that fill our waking hours – and think about the “why” of our lives. We stop to ponder the purpose of our existence, and if we are actually fulfilling our Creator’s expectations. We seek forgiveness from both Him and our fellow man, as we open our reluctant eyes to the error of our ways and vow to make improvements and amends.


We also take time to pray with all our might that the coming year will bring with it improvements and amendments – even if “on paper” our life is really quite pleasant.
For no matter how much “good” we have in our lives, there is always something we feel is lacking. Human nature is such that we always want more. We are not satisfied with the largesse we do have, and thus do not derive satisfaction from it. This unfortunate attitude, usually fueled by greed and a warped sense of entitlement, is very self-defeating. The belief that one is deprived or lacking stops one from enjoying what he/she has. Some people, especially entrenched with this trait, are never b’simcha because they feel bereft. 
Only those who appreciate what they have can truly enjoy them.


In many circumstances the “improvements” a person desires are quite reasonable. They want better health, a secure parnassah, or to have children and experience nachat from them. They want those children to get married after meeting their basherts. And of course they may feel loss or deprivation in their lives if they lack one or more of the aforementioned.


Some advice: They should daven – not just on Rosh Hashanah, but every day – for relief from the status quo.


Yet until that happens, they still can see improvements in the coming year by enjoying and appreciating what they do have.


There is a story of two young men in wheelchairs on the grounds of a rehab facility. One says to the other (a new patient he has just met), “Look at that!” and points to an elderly man walking spryly along the sidewalk. “How unfair,” he exclaims in a bitter voice. “We are so young, and look at him. He looks like a dinosaur and he is able to walk.”


His companion says nothing. The man snorts with anger and shouts, “We’re stuck in wheelchairs for the rest of our lives, and this old relic not only is alive but is practically speed walking. Don’t you see him? He must be at least 90.” After a few moments of silence, the other patient said, “No, I don’t see him; I’m blind.”


Sometimes our lives can get better, not because the “facts on the ground” have changed but because our perception of it does. Just the other week I was a guest for Shabbat lunch, where my hostess bemoaned the fact that the meat in her cholent must have been spoiled – so she tossed it. I told her that friends of mine in Texas were in their second week without power because of Hurricane Ike, and were living on tuna fish and canned beans. Hence the cold cuts and cold chicken we ate were very enjoyable – and much appreciated.


There is no question that there is much to daven for this Yom Tov. The State of Israel and the klal are facing both physical and spiritual threats to their existence. The economy has become very shaky, with many in the community facing unemployment or decimation of their investments and/or the loss of their homes.


Many young people are in despair at being single for much longer than they ever imagined, and one in six couples are extremely distraught at being involuntarily childless. There are children who break their parents’ hearts by rejecting their heritage and Yiddishkeit, and there are families being torn apart by a lack of shalom bayis. Disease, bad health and other life-challenging mishaps seem to be raining down on our community, and life in general seems to be more challenging than ever before.


Yet even if things stay the same for now, we can still see improvement and progress in our lives. All we have to do is open our eyes and feel hakarat hatov for the things we have always taken for granted.


May you all have a successful davening this year!

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “It’s How You Look At It”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Dozens of children were traumatized but escaped injury Sunday morning when Arabs in eastern Jerusalem attacked their bus.
Neglecting Terror Setting Up Eastern Jerusalem Jews for Expulsion
Latest Sections Stories
Calmer Times. Breslov chassidim on erev Rosh Hashanah in 2012 at the grave of Rav Nachman in Uman.

As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-080114

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

Kupfer-071814

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/its-how-you-look-at-it/2008/09/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: