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Thought for the Day: Standing Before the King

One of my pet peeves is people whining about things that they are already committed to do.  For example, I went to a chasuna last night and one guy in the car kept whining about how he didn't like going to chasunos because the music is too loud and there is a lot down time and its crowded and on and on.  For goodness sake, once you've weighed the pros and cons and decided on a course of action, then quit whining; you know?  So my wife finally said, "This chasuna is for good friends, you'll know a lot of people there that you like, you'll be sitting with our good friends from out of town that we don't get to see very often, and you have your pocket mishna brura for the down time."  She was, of course, right; so I stopped whining.  At least out loud.

As it turned out, I was very happy when I got to talk to a neighbor that I don't get to see very often.  He has a very cool job: he is a federal judge.  I realized that I had no clue what he really did and we had a few minutes between the chupa and the fist dance, so I asked.  It was interesting, but more interesting was when he told me how it had affected his davening.  He told me that when he first started the job, he had to daven mincha in his chambers (that's so cool; having "chambers").  He daven, you know, normal for someone who is running late and needs to get to work.  Then he donned his robes and entered the courtroom.  Everyone stood up.  The first attorney opened by "If it please the court, may I approach the bench."  My friend told me he had an immediate flashback to his davening.  He had started with, "HaShem s'fasi tiftach, u'fi yagid t'hilasecha".  He was embarrassed to recall how those words dropped out of his mouth and how that compared to the respect and kavana displayed by this lawyer asking to present his case to a federal judge.  That made an impression on me, also; I had that in mind when requesting my own approach to HaShem this morning.

Something else he said clarified something else for me.  "Some of these lawyers wouldn't even give me the time of day outside, but in court it's 'Yes, your honor', 'No, your honor.'"  Now, I call him by his first name; or sometimes "Your highness" just to tease him.  If I had to be in his court, however, I would address him only by his appropriate title, "Your honor".  Even though HaShem is Avinu sh'b'shamayim, our thrice daily davening is a formal appointment.  As such, we need to dress appropriately, speak appropriately, and even pay attention appropriately.

All in all a very productive time.  I should stop whining so much.


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