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July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
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Show Me The Service!


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In the meantime, the repairs to his home alarm system to get rid of a very annoying, sleep disturbing beeping lasted only several hours, necessitating another call, and other re-arranging of schedules to make sure someone was home. Another son had to call in a repairman just days before Yom Tov to fix his four year old fridge – the fan had broken. A couple of days later, the same repairman was yet again in their kitchen repairing a “youngish” oven that would not heat up. Almost comically, my son with the “repaired” car also had his four-year-old fridge start “acting up” on Yom Tov. He may need his fan replaced or his compressor – the jury is still out on that one.

It seems almost daily there is a recall of a mass-produced, popular item, such as a car, children’s toys, cribs –even food. Thousands of pounds of meat have been pulled off of store shelves in recent months. Last year, eating certain cantaloupes or walnuts could have made the consumer seriously ill. The list goes on and on.

This unfortunate, but prevalent hefkeirus, of just not doing your best, of doing the bare minimum, can be seen in our personal relationships as well. Little kids are being raised by hired help – most of who are adequate, but who do not go “the extra mile.” A friend and I while stopped at a red light were disturbed to see four little girls, about 6 years old, hesitatingly cross a busy intersection by themselves, one anxiously running across to get it over with.

At shul, I overheard a conversation between two older women who were bemoaning that today’s young wives buy take out for their families. For whatever reason, they can’t be bothered to cook. Their families are fed, but with minimum effort on their part. I am sure many such conversations in regards to other domestic responsibilities take place in the community.

Sadly, this lackadaisical attitude has permeated the spiritual realm as well. You look around you and see people speed bentching and davening with no thought, no pride, just a rush to get it out of the way. Like merchandise and services that are barely functional, so too are many of our personal and spiritual relationships.

It is felt by many that the Internet poses a threat to our integrity as Am Yisrael. Apathy, laziness and a disregard for working hard and putting in the effort to be the best we can be is also a threat. At Har Sinai we shouted na’ aseh ve’nishma. We will do it and listen. We didn’t first ask how hard it would be.

We are exhorted in Shema to love Hashem with all our heart, all our soul and all our ability. That is the quintessential blueprint that should guide us in our daily endeavors both at home at work, and with family and community alike.

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I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I have to do what is right for me – as long as it’s “ halachically kosher” and doesn’t negatively impact on others – and not worry too much about what others think.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.

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Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.

The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.

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