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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Connections Built By Disconnections

Twenties-121313

“Beep, beep, beep!” screeches the alarm clock on Monday morning. That evil object dares to disturb me during my precious sleep? Maybe I was right in the middle of slaying a dragon or being awarded the Noble Peace Prize, but does the clock care about those things? Does that clock care that it is stopping me from being able to have that one-second of glory, to bask in that one moment of overwhelming joy? No, it obviously does not. Otherwise, it would not have shrieked and interrupted me just before I was to give my valedictorian address or right before I reached the apex of Mount Everest. It sits the whole night as I sleep tranquilly in my cozy bed, plotting and planning when it would be best to break the serene atmosphere of quietness, and cause my dreams to fade away.

I try to move deeper under my blanket to block out that horrible sound signaling that my wonderful sleep has come to an end and I must get up and not only prepare for a new day, but a new week filled with tests and homework. Unfortunately this tactic is unsuccessful as I can still hear the clock continuing to beep relentlessly. I peek out from under my blanket to take a quick glance out of the window; pouring rain and trees swaying in the swift winds meet my eyes. This sight just fortifies my desire to remain hidden beneath the covers, to continue to be embraced by its warmth. My conscience, however, convinces me that it is time to surrender to the alarm clock. I must release my weapon (my blanket), step up to the alarm clock and call a truce by shutting it off. This war has to come to an end. I need to realize that the clock is just here to assist me in getting to school on time and to help me begin my day without the stress of having to rush to get all of my things together and catch the bus.

I hit the button on the clock; silence and serenity is restored. The clock and I both know though that the war is not really over, because tomorrow morning we will continue right where we left off. My bed will once again beckon me to remain in its comfort and warmth, but eventually, reality will break through and I will get up and start my day. Truthfully there is no end to this war, but we do agree to a ceasefire on Shabbos.

I wash neigel vasser, quickly slip on my black pleated skirt, blue button-down shirt, and black sweater. I walk down the hall to go brush my teeth and a locked door greets me. I knock once and there is no reply. I knock again, still no answer. By the third time I am beginning to lose patience and my soft knocks slowly shift to loud rapping on the door.

“I’ll be out in a minute,” says my sister behind the door. I try to be understanding, but based on past experiences I know what her “in a minute” can sometimes mean.  Instead of just standing next to the door accomplishing nothing, I dash down the stairs and head to the kitchen to make a sandwich for lunch.

After I finally manage to brush my teeth, I am about to pull out a bowl and have some cereal when my eyes travel to the large digital clock hanging on the wall. The big bold digits proudly announce that it is 7:45 and if I do not act quickly my bus is going to leave without me. I hastily fill a plastic baggie with some cereal, grab my school bag and run out the door. Luckily the bus driver is sympathetic enough to wait for me, so I run as fast as a cat does when it is trying to catch a mouse, and when I finally hop on and take a seat I am a little out of breath.

It is quite remarkable how slow the hands on the clock move during a class that I am not particularly fond of, but when I am actually enjoying a certain class or if it is recess or lunch time the hands on the clock have a way of speeding up. After davening I head to class. I do like learning new things so I enjoy most of my classes. Surprisingly it goes by pretty fast and before I know it recess has kindly arrived. My friend Chava and I like to walk around the building during recess to get some fresh air and move after sitting for so long.

“Rachelli do you want to study together for the Chumash test on Thursday? I think it would be good if we start studying tomorrow so that we won’t feel pressured on Wednesday night when we have to study for the test and work on our history essay,” says Chava.

“Sure that sounds like a great idea especially since I remember what it was like when we had our last Chumash test and our science report was due on the same day. I definitely don’t want a repeat of that.  Yes, I think tomorrow should be fine,” I reply as I pop a potato chip into my mouth.

After a long day of learning, two quizzes, and announcements of a few new tests to add to the calendar, it is finally time to go home. My stop on the bus is not too much farther from the first stop so I arrive home relatively soon after school ends. As I step through the door, my stomach growls like a lion at feeding time; I quickly run to the kitchen to see what my mother made for dinner. I go to open the fridge and stuck onto the door is a note with my mother’s neat handwriting on it. It reads “Dear Rachelli and Leah, I meant to tell you that I had an appointment at 6:00 and I probably won’t get home until around 8:30. I left some chicken in the oven and rice on the stove. There’s also some salad in the refrigerator if you want. I’ll see you both later. I love you!”

I go to the oven to heat up the chicken and the rice. Since my mother is out, my father will not be back from work until later, and Leah will not be home for at least another fifteen minutes because she went to study at a friend’s house, I am home alone.  I take out my notebook and go to the couch to sit and study for my Navi quiz the next day. I finish reading one of the two pages that I have to study when suddenly the phone rings. I place my notebook on the coffee table and answer it.

“Hi, it’s Shifra Glick. I’m just calling to remind you to bring in the twenty dollars for the dance costume. Also, you mentioned that you might be able to make the flyers to hang up around town to tell people about our concert. With all of the other preparations for concert the flyer totally slipped my mind. Is there any way you can make it tonight? I’m sorry that it’s so last minute, but Mrs. Greenbaum needs to check it over and approve it,” says the caller.

“Yes I guess I could do the flyer tonight. Its ok, I understand. It would just be easier if we were closer to concert and I didn’t have to do the flyer and study for quizzes at the same time, but I’ll do the best I can,” I reply with as much sincerity as I can muster.

“Thank you so much and remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be something nice that would attract people’s attention, and of course, have something to do with the theme, which is Shabbos. Again thank you and have a good night,” says Shifra in a sweet tone.

I do love to help out; I just really wish I would not have homework on top of preparations for concert. Well, it will not be too much longer until that time comes. Concert will be in three weeks and I will probably only have homework for another week. After I eat dinner, I make the flyer as best as I can and then resume studying. With Hashem’s help it will all work out, the principal will like the flyer and I will do well on that Navi quiz.

After a week comprised of learning new things, taking tests, and working on concert, Shabbos finally arrives. I sit down on the couch and daven kabbalas Shabbos and Maariv. My father comes home from shul and my family gathers by the table to enjoy the special meal that my mother prepared. When we finish, I take a seat near the Shabbos candles and watch them dance happily in their shiny silver candelabra. I sit while thoughts about my week and concert fly around in my mind.

I am so thankful to Hashem for giving us Shabbos. We might not realize it during the week because we are so caught up in our everyday lives, but Hashem is the One helping us and guiding us throughout our week. I am so grateful to have Shabbos because it is a day that we are forced to stop what we are doing and disconnect from the world. There are no appointments or ringing phones to stop us from connecting with the people around us.  Most importantly, we can connect with Hashem. Just as my alarm clock wakes me up in the morning and it helps me start my day, Shabbos awakens us from our slumber through the week and it detangles us from the web of our busy lives. It helps us focus on what really should be concentrated on the rest of the week. Unlike my alarm clock though which plots to win against me, Shabbos embraces me with warmth and connection. Shabbos awakens us to connect with Hashem and build our relationship with Him.

I look into the flickering flames of the Shabbos candles and I am thankful for the warmth and light that emanates from them and illuminates our home. Shabbos is also the one day a week that the raging war between me and my alarm clock takes a rest. I do not want Shabbos to end. Although when this Shabbos leaves I know it will return next week and I will once again have that extraordinary chance to connect with Hashem, and maybe reinforce myself to fight the never ending war against the alarm clock.

About the Author: Malka B. Kirsh is in 10th grade at Bais Yaakov of Ramapo


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One Response to “Connections Built By Disconnections”

  1. Keep doing what you're doing and you'll find yourself accepting the Nobel prize without that annoying buzz disturbing the moment. At first, I thought the author was a lot older before I realized how many of us started the struggle against the alarm clock around the same time. My alarm never stopped me from achieving a great things though…I guess even in my dreams, I'm an under-achiever.

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Twenties-121313

I look into the flickering flames of the Shabbos candles and I am thankful for the warmth and light that emanates from them and illuminates our home.

The tear is rolling down my cheek. It lands atop my lips. I lick my lips to remove the dryness and the saltiness soaks into my tongue. I take a long deep breath and begin to think. Why? How could she do that to me? We’re best friends. We’ve known each other practically since we were born. How could she go and do such a horrible thing?

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