Whoa, that was hard work! I just finished assembling a children’s tent and tunnel. It’s a wonderful way to keep a child busy during the erev Pesach madness.

It also is almost as tall as I am, with a six foot long tunnel and is composed to a mile of stiff fabric and several hundred tubes. As I sweated my way through it I wondered how, if it was giving me so much trouble now, I’d ever done it at 12 or 13? This thing was big enough for an adult to sit inside!*

As I examined my now-metallic hands and rubbed my aching shoulders, the answer came to me. The first few times I’d done it, I almost certainly had my younger brother’s help.

*Although not big enough for them to get out! 🙂 I just managed it myself.

Apple of my eye

My cute adorable mature little brother noticed that I seemed awfully busy and tired last night.

He cut me an apple for my lunch because he didn’t think I would have time to do it myself.

We train ‘em young!

Also a thank you to the girl who struck up a conversation with me and ended up providing some useful school advice.

And a huge thank you to the girl who asked why I looked so sad. Truth is, the thought of a test tomorrow, followed by a weekend of Pesach cleaning, was making me feel a bit worn out. Her thoughtful attention went a long way towards perking me back up.

A thank you to everyone who made my day better!

Twins who share more than a face

Earlier this week at school the entire student body (everyone who was there that day, that is) sat in the auditorium for a shiur. The speaker handed a bunch of papers to one of the brave girls sitting in the front row, indicating that she should pass them out. As she turned to do so, not asking for help in any way, her twin sister jumped up as if she, too had been asked, and they efficiently shared the job.

While I was watching this, I saw one girl who was sitting in an awkward position and couldn’t get up. She was trying to reach the handout someone passed her, but to no avail. What did her sister (come to think of it, they are also twins, as well as good friends of mine) do? Despite being farther away, her sister saw her predicament, immediately stood up, and passed the paper the extra three inches.

We have so much to learn from these girls. Not that they helped– not even that they didn’t ask for help. Helping without asking can cause more trouble then it solves sometimes. 🙂

They each knew the other’s needs so well that asking was unnecessary. If only we could all reach such a level.

Holy Machlokes

We learned a most inspiring peice about Machlokes today. Why can Yidden not just stop arguing?!

Suppose someone at your workplace was doing something wrong. It wouldn’t have a major affect on you, but you thought you could help them correct it. After a few persistent ‘no’s, maybe even a few ‘my way is better’s, you would probably give up.

But say your brother or sister was doing something simmilar. Something that might bother them, but wouldn’t really have such a huge affect on you. Would you still try to help them? Of course!!! If they’re in any form of danger– spiritual, financial (as in our previous case), physical– you would do your utmost to stop them.

We don’t fight because we think everyone else is wrong and we’re right. We fight because we want to help all our Jewish brothers and sisters do the very best that they can!

And, like all other siblings, we might beat eachother black and blue within the family. But when an outsider threatens? “No one messes with my baby brother!” Please– in times of peace, may they come soon, lets remember how we feel about each other when the bigger threats loom.

Should you help people grow spiritually? Of course!!! (That’s a subject for a later post.) But if you’ve ever cried bitter tears over the ‘wars’ within– there is hope! We fight because we care!

Crowned with kindness

My baby brother came home from Shul this Shabbat with a new black hat. A Borsilino, too. (He seemed to find that significant. I don’t even know if I’ve spelled it right!)

Someone in the community had a bunch of gently worn hats that he no longer needed for some reason. The one my brother brought home was in such good condition that it could have been sold for a good profit. Instead, he chose to give them all away– not to a charity, or to a poor person specifically, but to anyone who needed or wanted a new, good hat.

The Torah talks about the crown of a good name. Give away a simple (or not so) hat, and get a crown. Hm, let’s see if I have any hats to give away!

A dash of cute

This is less about kind moral choices- no, actually its not. On some level, even extremely young children understand being nice. They might not have access to the normal gifts we think of, but…

Two little cuties I saw today. One’s two, and was in the process of melting down after not being allowed to touch the burning Chanukah candles. The other was five, holding a Chanukah gift in her hand, grasping it possessively. The two year old, calming down for a moment, noticed the shiny package and tugged hard.

Instead of screaming, pulling back or hitting, which are all normal (if not acceptable) toddler reactions, she did something very surprising. She let go. And by the smile on her face and the way she ruffled her brother’s hair, it wasn’t an accident either.

It’s strange that we’re the ones who’ve been through 12+ years of school, yet we often learn our best lessons from the ones who have only just begun to learn. I wonder why?