Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Your Rod Comforts Because Your Staff Comforts Me

Any time I can justify telling a cute story about my grandchildren, I am grabbing that opportunity.  But first... a testimonial.
Hi, my name is Michael.  I am a potcher.  I have not potched my grandchildren in 59 days.
There.  I feel cleansed.

Thanksgiving weekend last year, I went to spend the weekend with my younger daughter and her children to help out while her husband was away on business (bringing Jewish San Francisco teens back to Torah).  We went for a walk on Shabbos and her daughter (Avigayil, a real pistol and a half) ran out into the street, stopped, turned, looked at me an laughed.  I was terrified both by how quickly and recklessly she moved, and even more by the clear intent of the act.  More than that, though, I knew this was not the first time; the last time had left her mother shaking in fear after retrieving Avigayil and getting her safely into the car seat.  I strode to her and gave her a solid potch.  I then apologized profusely to my daughter; I have a very solid policy of not interfering with the parenting of my children.  Despite my best efforts, my children have, bli ayin hara, turned out wonderfully and I do not want to take any unnecessary chances with the next generation.

What brought this up?  A few days ago my daughter told me that Avigayil had two things to say about her zeidy (that being me).  First, "Zeidy is my friend, I want to go visit him."  Awww.  Second, "Zeidy potches if you run into the street."  Oh no...

On reflection, though, I realized that it's not so bad.  My granddaughter knows I love her; I am her friend, after all!  She also realizes (in that context, apparently) that the potch was for a very specific event.  Moreover, Avigayil has not run in the street again.

To be effective, tochacha always has to be given in that manner.  The mochi'ach has to love the recipient and the recipient has to feel that love.  The tochacha has to be specific and only after you have established a loving relationship.  The mochi'ach can feel no pleasure in giving the tochacha, only happiness that the recipient will not again put themselves in harm's way.  Well... at least not that one harm.


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: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…