Minute 681: Instruction Manuals

Morty was frustrated. The package said: “Easy to assemble. E-Z-build guide enclosed.” But after an hour and a half, he was not even close to completion of the construction phase and nowhere near the enjoyment stage. I thought toys were supposed to be fun, he thought to himself. This is torture. I would have been better off paying the $10 service charge to have store personnel build this for me.

Even with the E-Z-build guide, Morty was having a hard time completing his task.

So many others fail to succeed because of a lack of clear instructions.

Teachers, managers and parents become frustrated when their desired goals are not met by their respective students, workers and children, but oftentimes it is a lack of clear instructions that produces the failure. “Go up and clean your room” may be understood in one way by a parent and in a totally different way by a child. “Hang up your clothes in the closet, fold your clean laundry neatly and put it in the drawers of your dresser. Then get all your books and papers back on the shelves and desk” is more likely to get those specifics accomplished rather than a general statement requesting a cleanup. A teacher’s homework assignment will produce better results if the instructions are clear in the students’ minds. A manager will get the desired results from employees when they are directed properly and understand the objectives of the “higher ups.”

Of primary importance is clear explanation of Torah and halachah. Taking into consideration the understanding of the listener is a responsibility of every Jew who transmits Torah to another.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

If you master the ability of imagining your life without all that you presently have, you will appreciate what you have to such a degree that you will live a life of constant joy. If you were lost in a wilderness without food or water and then found some bread, you would enjoy that bread more than you usually enjoy the most sumptuous meal… You will always be able to feel that joy if you train yourself to use your mind wisely. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Gateway to Happiness, p. 46)


Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.