Constructive Criticism 1

It’s somewhat sad to write about something that you wouldn’t even notice is a good and positive thing if it weren’t that so few people did it. But the fact is, we all notice the bad things anyway. I choose to also highlight the good.

I overheard two girls today talking about a particular teacher and a particular class. But what made them different was that they weren’t griping, exaggerating, blaming, or speaking lashon harah.

Rather, one told her friend that she was having xy and z issue, and that this was why. She added, in a reasonable, calm voice, that she knew she should respect this teacher, and she did, but that nevertheless, this was still an issue, and she had no clue what to do about it. Her concerns, I can attest to personally, were valid, and it was an issue. But the way she handled it showed maturity and respect.

Though poor behavior cannot be denied to exist, I also choose not to highlight it. If you don’t understand why this was music to my ears, kol hakavod for you.

Life is short―like this post

This thought of the week is sponsored by the following event.

Just five minutes ago, I was sitting at my desk, on the computer, playing another round of mindless games—not because I needed to sit for a moment, or because I wanted the brain benefits they offer. Just because I was bored, tired, and honestly, too lazy to come up with something more productive and interesting to do.

Suddenly, it occurred to me. ‘Is this really what G-d gave me the gift of life for?’ And I realized that tired or bored, I had so many things I could be doing.

This post is the result.

Thank you.

Impact

A week or two ago, I was walking through the neighborhood when two little girls passed by on bikes. The second fell off about three feet past me. Concerned, especially since she might have fallen swerving past me (though I was nowhere close), I went back to see if she was ok.

Her sister told me that she was fine, and the girl sprang to her feet. All was well, but as left, I mentioned that I knew someone who even with a helmet, nearly smashed his skull open riding a bike. Not the most encouraging or forceful message, and I wasn’t surprised when they just walked on. I wished I could have done a better job.

Or could I have? Today, when walking along a nearby route, I saw two girls biking down a hill, with helmets. And I’m 95% sure they were the same people.

Shimshon’s Siyata D’shmayah

Some frequent readers will remember my now not-so-recent haircut. After two comments people independently made on the very day I was trying to decide about growing it out, I decided to keep it that way. Right now, it’s kind of long and shaggy, but boy am I glad I didn’t cut it yet.

We went to my grandmother’s apartment, the grand family meeting place, today to visit a relative who’d just flown in. Halfway through the trip, I sat on the sofa behind the window. Then I ran my fingers through my hair. (No, that’s not the cause of the limp shagginess, though it’s probably not helping much.) To check, I did it again.

“Hey, my hair is wet!”

“It was raining out before.” I hadn’t been out in three hours. Not to mention that it was only the last half inch of my hair finely speckled with mist.

I turned around to check if maybe the window had been left open. I found a four inch diameter puddle of water on the windowsill– and the window was shut. My parents came to check. To make a long story short, a wet windowsill is a small problem when the entire back wall is sopping.

As much as this sounds like an unlikely way to find the issue, the chances of it being found any other way were even smaller. Thank you G-d, for long limp hair!

Just be there

A friend’s older sister was getting married tonight, and in spite of everything else going on in my life at the moment, I made a point of being there, if only for a few minutes.

Why?                                                                                           Because she asked me to.

I knew that many other girls were coming, (turns out that that was an understatement, half my school was there,) but if she cared enough to repeatedly ask me to come… I cared more than enough to listen to her.

Assorted thank yous

Thank you very much to the kind librarian! When she found me totally perplexed as to how I’d gotten a fine and why, she waived it for me, with only a gentle warning not to do it again. Its nice to see people who are willing to admit that mistakes, whether on my part or the library computer’s, can happen.

Also thank you to the girl who, upon hearing I needed a plastic bag for something, promptly directed me to go to her locker, tip out the plastic bag she had in there, and take it. It was a huge help, and her willingness to offer well beyond what’s expected was very inspiring.

Spot the connection

Mim’s post brought up an interesting thought. What does Sfira– counting up towards accepting the Torah– have to do with being kind to one-another. Is it just a coincidence that the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students died during the count-up to Matan Torah?

The post was due weeks ago so I’m condensing it now.

Rabbi Hillel said that the foundation of the Torah is ‘V’ahavtah Leracha Kmocha’– Loving your fellow like yourself. Without it, Torah cannot be sustained.

Whatever the sin of Rabbi Akiva’s students did (and there are many many interesting opinions,) they are said to not have been on the highest level of love for each other.

We don’t just wait to receive the Torah, we are actively preparing ourselves for it. Preparing ourselves to be the foundations of Torah.

Without Torah, there is no life. And without respect, love, and consideration for each other, there can be no Torah.

 

See you all at Har Sinai!