Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Tried and Tested Life Extending Techniques

I lived with my mother's parents when I first started college (chatasi! ).  One day my grandmother was loading the dishwasher and I told her that she didn't really need to wash the dishes first.  She, of course, ignored me.  A month or two after that my uncle was visiting his parents and also told my grandmother that she didn't really need to wash the dishes before loading them. She said, "Thank you!" immediately stopped washing the dishes before loading them.  I was nonplussed and (more or less politely) whined that I had told the the same thing but she had ignored me!  My grandmother very politely said, "The difference is he has the same dishwasher.  His advice is based on experience; yours on seeing an advertisement."  Or, as Chazal say, "ein sh'mia k'r'i'ah".

It is one thing to be given good advice (no matter how reliable the source) and another to have tested that advice.  Chazal wonder how Rava and Abaya had lived so long because they were descendents of Eli HaKohein and subject to a family curse to die young; they should have died before 20, but Rava had lived to 40 and Abaya to 60.  Rava, the gemara answers, was always busy with Torah, whereas Abaya was always busy with Torah and Chesed.  The Chafeitz Chaim comments that from this gemara you see that there is no loss to devoting time to chesed.

To me this is such a clear example of "ochel peiros ba'olam haze v'keren kayemes lo l'olam haba" (enjoying the fruit of one's labor in this world while the principle remains untouched in the coming world).  From 20 to 40 are usual child bearing/rearing years.  Had Rava not been so involved with Torah he would have missed the great joy of having children.  Abaya, on the other hand, got an extra 20 years which is the general time of having and enjoying grandchildren.  I can speak from personal experience the incredible joy it is to experience your children's children and seeing how your children have grown into fine adults.  If that were all you got, it would be worth spending time on Torah and Chesed, but that's only the fruit in this world.  Cool!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…