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Thought for the Day: Entitlement vs Shleimus/Instant Gratification vs Constant Growth

One of the beauties of Shabbos is walking to shul together.  We are here in Denver for a wedding, and we are from "the other side".  That is, the kallah's side has a shomer shabbos contingent who made mini-shabbaton before the wedding on Sunday.  We are the only one's from the chasson's side who are shomer shabbos; and we were graciously invited to join the shabbaton.  Walking back and forth to shul (a bit over a mile each way), we got a chance to talk and get to know each other.  I mentioned that the chasson's brother told me that over the years he has come to appreciate how amazing and wonderful it is to have parents who are still married to each other.  The kallah's father related that he had been on a business trip a few years ago and took a window seat.  Two other men sat down and the started talking, during which they found they had all been married just about 25 years each.  From both in front and behind they heard people saying, "Wow!  Three men just happen to sit down together and all have are still married for their first wives for 25 years!  What are the odds?"

Wedding is in the air, I may speak at the sheva brachos (even though no one has said anything, I am arrogant enough to always mentally prepare).  So why is it so surprising to have long marriages?  Now this is just my opinion (as opposed to everything I else I say, right?  I see your eyes rolling), but I have an idea.  There is a recurring theme in the G"ra on Mishlei when relating passages from the Zohar HaKodesh; that is the idea that every dimension of reality always has an inner drive and an outer expression of doing.  The inner is called the nukba/feminine and the outer is called the dachar/masculine and they are two sides of one coin.  This generation is often called the "entitlement generation", and we see that more and more we want instant gratification/results.  That feeling of entitlement is an inner drive that is expressed outwardly as searching for instant gratification.  Not a great prescription for long lasting marriage.

On the other hand, the G"ra makes a point that no midah is in and of itself good or bad, it is only how it is used.  For example, the drive to spill blood can be expressed both by the murderer and the mohel.  Our choice is not about our t'chunos ha'nefesh/basic makeup, but how we use and express them.  I would say that the drive for entitlement is the negative expression of the need for shleimus/wholeness/perfection.  The search for instant gratification is the negative of striving to always improve; in both cases constantly moving from one thing to the next is the order of the day.  Strife and differences to the entitlement/instant gratification personality are a sign to move on.  Strife and differences to the shleimus/constant growth personality are a sign of opportunity.

Selfishness is "I deserve"; selflessness is "I was created for perfection".  Selfishness leaves no room for anyone else and ends in ultimate loneliness.   Selflessness joins one to HaShem and ends in the ultimate joy.

Your choice.


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