Monday, June 21, 2010

Think Less of Yourself and You Will Understand the World More

Fall of 1980 - I was invited to the wedding of Tzvi (Hershel) Arnow, who I knew from yeshiva in Israel. It was the first wedding of a friend that I was invited to (I was 17). I wasn't able to go, so I sent a gift. Dad took me to Gift World on Main Street (sic) and we picked out a book for my friend. It was a collection of Chasidic Wit/Wisdom. One saying struck me, and although sadly I don't recall which Rebbe said it (I feel horrible about that - it's kind of like not remembering which African American said "I have a dream") I remember the quote:

"You are not as great as you think, and the world is not as bad as you think. Think less of yourself, and you will understand the world more."

Later that same year I went to the first wedding of a friend, Efrayim Jaffe (who I recently quoted in a Jewish Week piece as telling me that no-one wins an argument). A year later another dear friend, Nachman/Nathan Mazurek got engaged and I spoke at his vort. He said he would speak at mine too. I'm not sure if he remembers that but I know that he still remembers my social security number.

Why and how do we remember what we do? How much control do we have over memory? Do we control it when something from our past suddenly comes back to us? Do we control it when it when something is suddenly blocked from our memory try as we will to access it?


I just returned from Ma'riv and feel like I belong to a community. I shmoozed with a wise, talmid chacham, neighbor - devoted husband and father of five who has no desire to leave this neighborhood. He and his wife like that there are no Jones' here, no competitiveness with the suburban neighbors, little of the affluence and darkness of some of those 'hoods. We spoke for over a half hour, standing on the stoop. I learned a lot.


A friend of mine just posted this as her Facebook statue: "Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart" ~ Khalil Gibran. So true. I recently found someone very pretty to be pretty ugly.


Good night and G-d bless
blah blah blah and all the rest
G-d bless me now most


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