Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It all depends on your thoughts and attitude

I was reminded of this favorite story by a question posed by Dixie Yid on A Simple Jew's blog here.
Once, Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, was part of a group accompanying the Chofetz Chayim, zt”l, on a train ride. In those days, people had a difficult time making a living and would try almost any method to make a small profit. Poor Jewish women would sometimes board trains to sell peanuts at a cheap rate. Such a woman boarded the train and approached the Choftez Chayim, who bought some peanuts. Not surprisingly, the entire group with him followed suit.
After the woman left their compartment, the Chofetz Chayim commented, “Do you know how silk is manufactured? You take strands of silk and put them together to make threads. No normal person would take silk thread and unravel it until they are left with weak and fragile strands.
Similarly, if you bought peanuts to enable this poor woman to make a living, it is like taking separate strands and making strong and lasting silk thread from them. But if you meant solely to give yourself a moment’s physical pleasure, you lost the opportunity to fulfill a precious mitzvah. You would be like the fool who unravels silk to its basic components and renders it unfit for real use!”
It comes out of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings that with our every mundane action we can either weave the strands of our everyday actions into a brilliant spiritual garment by having the right intentions, or we might unravel our spirituality by focusing on our own selfish needs. For example, if while at work we consider that our real purpose is to fulfill the mitzvah of chessed by providing for our families and enabling ourselves to give charity to others, our mundane acts take on a spiritual character. Every physical act is potentially a spiritual pearl! It all depends on what we focus on. Will our mundane actions be worthless shards or precious pearls? The choice is ours!


Anonymous said...

G-d bless you and yours. This is a beautiful and inspiring lesson and answer to dixie yid.
thanks as it also helps me.
so many times, if not almost all the times we cook food for eg. and are happy when our kids are happy, keep home, earn money etc for the family. as an x xtian this is all i thought of...family. but today as a believing gentile i realise that this family was given to us by Hashem for a purpose, according to the 7 laws and its breakdown. We are doing this because its what Hashem wants us to do.
it is a chasm between man made faiths and the true faith, between the 70 nations and G-d's chosen nation. blessings.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the chizuk.
Hashem should help us fulfill this!