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Thought for the Day: All Is For Me and I Am For All

Passover is coming soon; ready or not.  I prefer to be ready.  It's a lot of tasks and things go much more smoothly if those tasks are shared; and that requires coordination.  This year I found a project/task management tool that has both web and mobile app components.  I can create, assign, follow, set reminders for, and track tasks.  I have tasks for getting haircuts, moving chametz out of kitchen, ordering pesach food, getting wine, etc.  A non-frum colleague at work thought is was overkill.  "Well, we are having about 15 people, but I'll go on Saturday to do the shopping."  Misreading the look on my face, he added, "I know, it's easier for me because I am allowed to shop on Saturday."

I, of course, felt compelled to respond.  Which I did.  "No, you are not allowed to, you are choosing to do something wrong."  He's known me for a while now, so he simply replied, "True." Of course you need to know your audience (a skill I continue to hone), but it's important to be true.  After all, had he told me that he planned to douse himself with gasoline and then smoke a cigar, I would have had no compunction to remind him that smoking is dangerous for one's health.

The mishna in Avos says not to hold anything nor any person in disdain, for they every thing and every person has his moment for you.  I always thought in terms of what use they are to me, but upon further reflection it also means in terms of what I can/should do for them.  There is a reason that HaShem arranged for this non-frum Jew to work with me; and for me to work with him.

I heard a beautiful mashal from R' Ezriel Tauber, shilta, many years ago.  Imagine two couples who live across from each other.  The wife in couple A is an early riser, likes to get the house in order, breakfast ready, ironing done, etc all before she sweetly goes to awaken her husband to start his day seeing her smiling face.  Similar situation for couple B, except the husband is early riser.  Couple A has a son and couple B has a daughter; having grown up across the hall from each other, the get married.  First morning, both A son and B daughter wake up, waiting to be treated like they saw their parents treat each other.  Not a friendly picture.

Wouldn't it have been better for A to have the daughter and B the son?  No, says R' Tauber; you are not in this world to do what you are already good at; you are here for self and world improvement.

There was a bit more to the conversation at work.  First he noted that he got and "Out of Office" message from his orthodox relative that was sent on Shabbos (in response to my friend's email).  So we discussed why that is permitted, etc.  Good conversation.  Then he said, "As far as the shopping goes, I'll just send my wife -- who is not Jewish -- so then there's no problem."

As I said, I am getting better at gauging my audience; I let that go till another time.


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