Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Want to Understand Purpose of This World? Enjoy Your Grandchildren

When I first heard about the idea of putting cameras on phones, I thought is had about as much merit as putting cassette tape players on refrigerators.  However, since having grandchildren who live in different states than I do, I have recanted.  (On the phone/camera thing, not on the refrigerator/cassette thing.)  I woke up this morning to see a picture of my three year old grandson reading to his one year (and change) old sister.  I spoke to my daughter not long after and got the whole story: the younger sister loves to have someone read to her, her brother saw her looking at the books and said, "Do you want me to read to you?"  They sat down and the picture was snapped.

There are several old jokes regarding the relationship between grandchildren and grandparents; most of them are true in one way or another.  One is: If I'd known having grandchildren was so much fun, I would had them first.  The irony of the joke, of course, is that you can't have grandchildren without first having children.  I don't mean just physically,  I mean on a very fundamental level that the fun of grandchildren is a direct product of the trials of rearing their parents.  I am sure you also imagined how cute and heartwarming the above scenario was.  But you didn't get the same deep feeling of nachas that I did.  (Ok, ok, honey... except for you, of course.)

Why not?  Simple, because they aren't your grandchildren.  Which, of course, is why we need Olam HaZeh to enjoy Olam HaBah.  If HaShem had put us straight into Olam HaBah without any preparation.  It would be amazing and wonderful... and the experience would be like watching someone else's grandchildren, attending someone else's chasuna, attending someone else's lifetime achievement awards ceremony.  Know what's even worse than that?  Attending all that and knowing that it could have been you and yours, but you decided to be lazy and not put the effort into gaining those achievements yourself.  It's being a participant and knowing you chose with full knowledge and a clear mind, to throw it all away.  That's gehinnom.

One other thought about that beautiful scene with my grandchildren.  Neither one of them of course, knows how to read.  She probably doesn't even understand all the words he is saying (mostly made up anyway).  That doesn't make it any less adorable.  I just hope HaShem feels that way when He sees my sitting with my chavrusa mouthing the words of the gemara.


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: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…