Dear Kallas עמו”ש
A Guten Chodesh!
I hope that you each had an enjoyable Pesach, and that you were able to grow and find inspiration in any measure.
Over the last few days, (knowing that Rosh Chodesh was coming up) I was thinking about what to share. Yom tov, spending time with family, paying attention to the Haggadah and its treasure of lessons, and actually just being outside in gorgeous weather gave me so much to think about.
I had two encounters over Yom tov that were so incredible, and although they were very different from each other, I left both with feelings of awe and tremendous respect.
Before Yom tov, a wonderful young lady called me with a very complicated dilemma regarding her family’s arrangements for Yom tov. Due to her very complex situation, the family was going to be separated into two parts, with some children staying with her mother and some with her? father. She was under extreme pressure from both sides, and as it was less than 48 hours before Yom tov, the intensity was overwhelming. With tears streaming down her face, she looked me in the eye, and asked, “What do you think Hashem wants me to do?”
I was speechless. All I could do was give her a hug and cry with her. What an incredible person she is. So much pain, so much embarrassment, and that was her question. I was awed by her goodness, and her selflessness.
During Chol HaMoed, I met a young couple that had a very trying medical experience on erev Yom Tov. Arriving at their parents’ house moments before licht bentchen, the husband quickly helped his wife get comfortable and ran to shul.
As he stood in shul, looking at all of the other men, dressed in their Yom tov clothing, looking calm and put together, he was thinking about how no one in shul had any idea what his day was like, the tragic loss he and his wife and experienced that day, and how he had just barely pulled himself together enough to come to shul.
And then it dawned on him, that just like no one had an inkling of his circumstances, he had no inkling of anyone else’s, and every person in shul is an individual, with their own circumstances. He took a moment to appreciate that many people in that shul might be there with small or large challenges, and just because all looks “regular”, one never knows what another person is living with or through.
Both of these reinforced what we know. We live amongst heroes. We don’t always take the time to think about it.
We’ve all heard the saying about not judging someone until you’ve walked in their shoes, and we’ve all heard and said a million times to be nice to everyone, But here is something that we have to place front and center in our minds. Every single person we meet is fighting a silent battle….
Every single person is so multi-dimensional, and has so much to him or her, and struggles in a way that I cannot see….
So, when I speak to a person, I know that I am speaking to a hero, even though, likely, have no idea why….
During this period of sefira, we are more mindful of how to treat each other.
לא נהגו כבוד זה בזה- Rabbi Akiva gave מוסר, he tried to prevent the calamity he saw coming, and people heard his warnings, but each felt that the message is not intended for me– זה בזה- is meant for others!
Understanding that I walk amongst heroes- I mean that, I am not exaggerating- defines and refines how I treat and relate to every person I meet. Let’s reach inward, and develop a deep respect for people, for what we know about them, but even more for what we don’t know about them
Wishing you a month of simcha and growth,