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Of Frost and Flats

12/24/2020 10:05:01 AM


Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum


My wife had a school principal that would say every day, “have a great day or not; the choice is yours”. This past Sunday could have been a terrible, miserable day, but I made the choice. 

It actually started very well. I won my argument with my yetzer hara earlier than normal and was actually up early enough to say all of Korbanos and learn part of the Daf. I headed to shul with plenty of time to get my tefillin on for davening. 

That is when the challenges started. The windshield of my van was covered with a thick sheet of frost. By the time I turned on the defrost, drafted an unused credit card into service as a scraper and received the desired result, I was on my way to shul, but aggravated about being late. I despise being late.

The aggravation continued later in the day, this time before Mincha. Twice in the last three weeks I have had a nail in a tire (I suspect placed there by someone who has less than a good feeling about me). Mid-morning, I had filled the tire with air and taken it in for a patch, and I assumed I had resolved that problem. But late that afternoon at 4:45 I found myself on the side of the service road near Churchill Way, after a blowout on 75. I cannot tell you the aggravation I experienced, and again the frustration at being late to Mincha. 

 These challenges were, thank G-d, not terribly serious, and they are the kind of things that interfere fairly often in the course of our daily lives.  We all have occurrences that we would rather avoid but, alas, they are unavoidable.  What makes the difference then, between a good day and a terrible day? 

It is not the events, but our reaction to them. The gemarah says " Hacol bedei shamayim chutz myiras shamayim everything is in the hands of heaven except for fear of Heaven.'' Fear of Heaven includes recognizing that nothing is an accident, and, though we don’t always know why things happen, we know they are ordained from Above. When the proverbial curve ball comes our way, we can choose to reject it as “wrong”, or to accept it and deal with it with grace. The difference in our interna reaction will make a difference not only for us, but for the people around us. A calm husband, father, rabbi and servant of Hashem in the face of frost and flats is a different one than one who has chosen to have a terrible day. 

Sun, July 21 2024 15 Tammuz 5784