Hello My Dear Kallas,
The summer is such a paradoxical time for us. For many of us, it’s a break from routine, and we have more down time, and more time to do the things we don’t get to during the year, and time to have fun (I am a big believer in fun by the way…. For another newsletter.)
I really was going to talk about fun this month, but then the realization that it was Rosh Chodesh Av stopped me, and then I thought about next month, but the realization that it will be Rosh Chodesh Elul stopped me, so we will א” ה get to the topic of fun in the future.
The last few פרשיות that we have lained are so close to my heart; during the many years I had the opportunity to teach 7th grade, these were the פרשיות I taught, and hearing them, and hearing thoughts on them inspire me greatly.
Something I think about often when we travel through these פרשיות, is the fighting, the complaining, and the מחלוקת that found their way into our nation.
We learn of the pain, the hurt, the isolation, the embarrassment, the long-standing repercussions, and even the deaths.
These incidents are highlighted during the weeks before Tisha B’av, and create strong emotions for me.
The broader our lives and our world become, the more people and institutions we interact with.
Shuls, schools, extended families, playgroups, stores, repairmen, carpool partners, business partners, committee members, principals, teachers, sheitel machers, dry cleaners…. You get it.
Things go wrong, or better put; they don’t go our way.
“How could the school make such a ridiculous rule?”
“How can the shul set such standards?’
“Why is she so rigid about her carpool days?”
“Why would that Rav pasken like that”?
“Why is my daughter’s teacher absent again?”
“I heard that sheitel macher is so overpriced”
“It’s so hard to work on a committee with her, she is so opinionated…”.
I’m working myself up thinking of these examples……
Thoughts like these create strife, bad feelings, negativity, and מחלוקת, but the good news is with all that I cannot control, I can gain control on my thoughts, and tell myself a different narrative, creating a totally different outcome.
“I’d like to call the school and better understand the rule”
“I appreciate that our shul has standards, although this one is hard for me”
“There are days and times that work better for me as well”
“I’m sure there are details of the psak that I might not understand”
“I appreciate the dedication of my daughter’s teacher and she might be going through a hard time”
“She is top of the line, and right now, that isn’t in my budget”.
“I have strong opinions about some things also, just not these things”
It’s about taking a second, stopping, acknowledging my first thought, putting it away, and telling myself a different story.
And this is the big win: More happiness in your life, a lighter feeling in your head (it’s exhausting to be negative-for real), you’ll be a much more pleasant person to be around, and Hashem will look at our mistakes and inadequacies much more gently.
It can be done. I work on it constantly, and I’m getting better at it.
With the hope that this will still turn into a month of שמחה,