Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Living Every Moment

I have a standard mashal I break out whenever I want to make a point about the transience of this world and the importance of setting priorities.  The mashal is to suppose you won the right to have 15 minutes in a shopping mall and you could keep anything you could get out in that 15 minutes.  The obvious answer (to me) is to figure out where all the jewelry stores are and run around like a mad man grabbing as many precious stones as you can carry before they call, "Time up!"  Obviously if you had more time (a whole day, for example) you'd start pacing yourself; planning sleep/rest breaks to be more efficient and not because it was geshmack to sleep.  Yada, yada... the nimshal is obvious.

I was trying to make a point to a colleague at work once and tried the mashal on her.  Her response totally stopped me in my tracks (of thought, that is).  She said she would go try on dresses and take the nicest one.  I said, "But, but.. with all those jewels you could buy all the dresses you want!"  "Uch... such a hassle.  I don't even know how'd I'd go about selling the jewels.  I would just take the dress and be done with it."

I would like to think that I try to be more like the guy grabbing jewels than the lady trying on dresses.  I saw a straightforward halacha in Halichos Shlomo this morning.  As is well known, there complexity with Rosh HaShanah due to the fact that it falls on Rosh Chodesh.  Because of that complexity, it is the only holiday that is universally (ie, even in Eretz Yisrael) celebrates as two days.  In fact, there is even a machlokes about whether the two days of Rosh HaShanah are really only halachically one long day.  One of our practices to mitigate the effect of that confusion is to have a new fruit at the s'uda of the second evening.  That way, if it's one long day then the sh'he'chiyanu goes on the new fruit.  Now the fun starts.

Halichos Shlomo notes that one must have in mind both the Yom Tov and the new fruit when making (or hearing) the sh'he'chiyanu.  If you only have the fruit in mind, then the sh'he'chiyanu is a hefsek between the bracha on the wine and drinking the wine.  (B'di'avad you would not have to repeat the borei pri ha'gafen.)  The rav would then take a taste of the new fruit immediately after drinking the wine to minimize the time betwen the sh'he'chiyanu and eating the fruit in case it really is one long day.  He would also be careful to eat less than a k'zayis to stay out of the machlokes about whether a bracha acharona should be said.  When he used rimon (pomegranate, but rimon sounds more religious), however, he had no qualms about eating an entire berry  (even though some feel that might be considered a ber'ya and also require a bracha acharona).  Oh yes, and they did not eat grapes in R' Shlomo's home on Rosh HaShanah; al pi sohd, according to the G"ra and brought by the Mishna Brura.

So in the time it takes my to pass out the wine and start yelling at everybody "kiddush b'makom s'uda; kiddush b'makom s'uda", R' Shlomo Zalman has klahred several sh'eilos and covered several bases with his actions.  Talk about using every moment.  I need to get to work!


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…