Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Remembering My Blessings

I've been going through a bit of a rough patch in my life.  Things aren't exactly going according to plan in various circles of my life and, truth to tell, it's been getting me down of late.  I sometimes (probably selfishly) bemoan (largely to myself) how my life isn't exactly the rose garden I thought it would be.

Truth to tell, it's not nearly as bad as my emotions would tell me.  I do have a roof over my head.  I'm not going hungry.  I have a good job.  Eeees and I are still madly in love with each other after all these years.  I am relatively healthy, as are the members of my family.  There are lots of people who would love to have all my problems, as long as they came with the good parts of my life as well.

I was given a reminder of this point recently, when I volunteered to work at the annual TAFKID Purim carnival.  TAFKID is an organization that is devoted to helping the families of children with special needs (both physical and mental).  They provide support and advocate for these children.  At the carnival, I get to interact with the children -- of all levels of disability.  I see those that are high-functioning, and those that are confined to wheelchairs and barely able to communicate.

In many ways, it hurts to see these children.  It hurts to see that many of them will not have the opportunity to have the things that I have come to take for granted in my life -- the ability to walk; to marry and have children; to hold a job; the ability to express myself and make my wants and desires known without too much difficulty.  They and their families face hardships and challenges that I, thank God, do not know.

It's sometimes very easy to focus on our own problems and forget the blessings that HKBH has given us.  Perhaps it's a good thing that I volunteer here and, at least once in a while, am reminded that, despite my own personal problems, I still have it pretty good in life.

The Wolf


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Kol hakavod to you for realizing what many others miss. You focus on what you have, not what you don't and you will have a happy life. At least until the zombie apocalypse begins.

tesyaa said...

Yes, it's good to remember your blessings, but I don't know that comparing oneself to those with different ("worse") issues is necessarily a good idea. No one wants to be the person (or the parent of the person) who is so pathetic that it makes other people feel better about their lives.

Sorry you have been having personal problems; hope things turn around soon.

G*3 said...

> I don't know that comparing oneself to those with different ("worse") issues is necessarily a good idea.

It's a great idea. Obviously, don't tell anyone, "Your pathetic and that makes me feel good about myself," but we (people) evaluate our own position in relation to others. It's why people would rather have a job making $60,000 a year in a company where most people make $50,000 than a job making $70,000 in a company where most people make $80,000.

I know I feel much better about myself after an afternoon with the friend who has no career and routinely overdraws his accounts than an afternoon with the one who's an engineer that does work for NASA, even though they're both people I enjoy spending time with.

Mr. Cohen said...

Rabbi Avigdor Miller (a popular Chareidi Rabbi, born 1908 CE, died 2001 CE) delivered a free public lecture in the last year of his life, in which he taught that Jews should pray for the Israeli Army.
I personally witnessed this; I was there.

When a Jew recites Tefilat Shemoneh Esrei, he is permitted to add his own personal prayer requests in the middle of the final paragraph, which begins with Elokai Netzor Leshoni MeiRa.

I recently began adding the prayer for the Israeli Army in that part. I know this is not the way it is normally recited, but it is permitted, and I can say it that way in any synagogue.

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck NJ told me that I can recite it even on Shabbat and Yom Tov, because it is a communal tefillah, not a private bakashah.


Mr. Cohen said...

Overlooked Psychology of the Arab-Israeli Peace Process
by Mr. Cohen of the Derech Emet yahoo group, 2014/4/27

In a very famous Bible story, King Solomon threatened to cut a baby in half
to satisfy the claims of two women who claimed possession of the same baby
(Melachim Aleph, chapter 3, verses 16 to 28).

The fake mother did not object to cutting the baby in half,
but the real mother begged King Solomon to not do it
because the real mother did not want to see her baby die.

Arabs are very familiar with this Bible story and they apply it
to the conflict over possessing “Palestine.” Arabs believe that
just as the fake mother in the court of King Solomon was
willing to divide the baby, the Israelis are fake owners of
“Palestine” because they are willing to divide it.

According to this logic, Arabs can never agree to less than 100%
of “Palestine” because doing so would make them like the fake
mother in the court of King Solomon who was willing to divide the baby.

Mr. Cohen said...

Refuting the Jew Haters by Mr. Cohen, 2014/4/27,
moderator of the Derech Emet yahoo group,

I do NOT suggest that any Jew waste his or her time arguing
with Jew haters, for many reasons.

First, our obligation as Jews is to serve G_d, not argue with
Jew hating lunatics.

Second, they can be dangerous, and even if you think you
are anonymous on the internet, you are not as anonymous
as you think you are, and they may find you, G_d forbid.

Third, many Jew haters are fanatics and/or lunatics,
who will never listen to anything you say, or even use
your words against Jews in ways you did not anticipate.

Still, there are rare situations when it helps to know how
to refute their accusations against Jews; for example,
when a sincere Gentile co-worker or neighbor is
influenced by the accusations of the Jew haters.

One favorite accusation of the Jew haters is that Jews
have been expelled from many countries and cities.
Jew haters use this to imply that Jews are bad people.

This accusation can be countered.

When a Medieval king expelled Jews from his country,
Jews were usually not able to take their possessions
with them, so all the possessions of the Jews became
the property of the king, including: land, houses,
furniture, gold, silver, jewels, farm animals, etc.

Even if the Jews had some way to take their money with
them (which was far from guaranteed) they could not
take their larger possessions with them. This permitted
the kings to increase their wealth quickly with little risk.

So kings had big financial incentives to expel their Jews,
as did lords and dukes.

Another reason why Jews were expelled many times from
Christian countries was that Medieval Christians did not
tolerate people whose beliefs disagreed with their own.

Medieval European Christians also persecuted other
Christians whose beliefs differed from their own.
For example:

In October 1536 CE, William Tyndale was publicly
executed because he translated the Bible into English,
even though he was Christian.

Most Christians alive today tolerate people with different
beliefs, but this tolerance is around one or two centuries old.

We Jews should THANK G_D that we live in an era
when most Christians no longer believe their religion
wants them to persecute Jews.