Minute 719: Getting Closer

The kids heard the car door slam in the driveway.

“Uh-oh, Mom’s home,” Robby said.

“Hurry and clean up everything!” Shaya said. “If she knows we’ve been snacking, we’ll get punished.”

A flurry of activity ensued. Then the kitchen door opened. Mom was inside.

“Boys!” she called out. “Come and help with the groceries!”

The boys carried the bags into the house. As Mom put everything away, they watched her surreptitiously while feigning concentration on their homework.

“We made it,” Robby whispered to Shaya with a smirk.

“I know, but I’m thinking what we did wasn’t right,” Shaya replied. “When I watch Mom working to put all that good stuff away, I realized that she gives us all we need. I think from now on I’m not going to do anything that would upset her even when she’s not around.”

Jews are, by their nature, grateful individuals. We open our eyes with a declaration of appreciation, our prayers close with statements of thanks, and our name as a people, “Yehudim,” is made up of the two words “thanks to Hashem.” Our Sages teach that we should enjoy the goodness bestowed upon us by our Creator, and that includes all the material gifts He has created for our enjoyment. On the other hand, our Mussar masters teach that indulgence in the things of this world move us away from closeness to Hashem. How do we reconcile these seemingly conflicting approaches?

In Ahavat Meisharim, Harav Moshe Rozenstein says (p. 187): “One should keep on his mind all the pleasures of this world that we enjoy…and nullify that the pleasure comes from an earthly creation and rather focus on the fact that all our pleasures come from Him. In keeping one’s focus on the Source of the pleasure and His generosity and love for us, rather than the pleasure itself, one will come closer to the Provider and less attached to the pleasure.”

Appreciate His gifts and you’ll want to do His bidding!

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Omit unnecessary words…just as a drawing should have no unnecessary lines, and a machine should have no unnecessary parts, so too a sentence should have no unnecessary words… (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, The Power of Words, p. 192)