Mr. Soloff arrived home late. He was more tired than usual, and appreciated that the children were asleep and that he and his wife could enjoy some quiet time together.
“This is so nice,” he commented with a smile. “Maybe I should come home late more often.”
“I appreciate the humor, dear,” Mrs. Soloff said. “However, had you been here at five o’clock I think you’d have a different view of the day. The kids were all more raucous and out of control than usual. Even the threat of ‘Wait until your father gets home’ wasn’t enough to control little Meir.”
“I know how he can be,” Mr. Soloff admitted. “How’d you get him under control?”
“It wasn’t planned, but instead of threatening, I asked him, ‘Would you behave this way if your rebbi was here?’ He immediately became quiet and cooperative.”
“I wish we could get his rebbi to appear once in a while,” Mr. Soloff said, grinning.
This time his spouse laughed along with him.
People behave differently when a person they respect is present. Office workers don’t chat about frivolities when the boss is nearby. Children are on their best behavior when the principal visits their classroom. Congregants listen attentively when a distinguished Rabbi is speaking. Good behavior is almost automatic in such situations.
If only we realized Hashem is always present wherever we are and whatever we are doing. As the Tanna taught (Avot 2:1): “Know what’s above you: an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and all your deeds are recorded in a journal.”
True emunah yields sterling behavior. It takes effort to internalize, but it’s the key to your spiritual success. Invest the effort to own it.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Tenacity of will is worth a battery of artillery. The gates of self-improvement are never barred, nor are the doors to repentance ever locked. There is always an opportunity to return to one’s own intrinsic spiritual nature. Hope, optimism, persistence and self-discipline are the stuff of the soul and of spiritual elevation. The development of these traits puts us in touch with our true inner self. (Rabbi Berel Wein, Buy Green Bananas, p. 185)