Tuesday, 28 December 2010 10:22

positive interruptions

Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld


Our patience is tested the most when we encounter life circumstances that alter our vision of how the world around us should look. These circumstances most often come in the form of interruption.

Some interruptions are minor and irritating (traffic jam, long line at the market, etc.). Some interruptions feel devastating (death of a loved one, serious illness, etc.). Patience does not let us off the hook. We still have to do our part to initiate change, but patience is crucial in those circumstances in which we have to deal with the hand we've been given. A key prayer in the Siddur utilizes moments of interruption as opportunities to connect with God and one another: kaddish.

Wednesday, 06 October 2010 18:49

well worth the wait

Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

“Be patient, brothers, till the coming of the Lord. And look, the farmer’s waiting for the precious fruit out of the earth. Be patient until it drinks the first and later rains. Be patient. Gather strength, make your hearts firm. Drawing near is the coming of the Lord. And brothers, do not groan against each other for fear you may be judge. And look, the judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, see the prophets who spoke in the name of God.” (Yaakov 5:7-10, Restored New Testament, Barnstone)

art-waitFour times, in a span of four verses, Yaakov pleads in his letter that his readers be patient. The patience he is referring to involves matters of survival and future redemption. The patient farmer is awaiting his livelihood, and the patient prophets await the word of God to come to pass. It is worth noting that some prophets died in their patience while others only saw the fruit at the end.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010 10:41

patience as wisdom

Written by riverton mussar

art-crown-of-patienceThere was a great and mighty king who had many peasants working for him in his kingdom. One of the peasants rebelled against the king and would not listen to his laws.

When the king heard this, he summoned his ministers who unanimously decided that justice demands that the peasant be executed immediately. The king though, decided to withhold justice for now and give the peasant a chance to mend his ways. He summoned the peasant to speak to him and spoke to him kindly. Nevertheless, the peasant continued to rebel against the king and even worsened his deeds. The king tolerated him and even asked his ministers to continue sending the peasant money for his livelihood. Eventually after a time the hard hearted peasant could not help but admire the king's superhuman tolerance and his benevolence and the peasant made a total turnaround. He became one of the most loyal servants of the king.

--taken from the introduction of The Palm Tree of Deborah by Rabbi Moshe Cordavero

Friday, 10 September 2010 14:10

questions to ask yourself

Written by riverton mussar

art-questionsUse these questions to evaluate your day:

  1. What were the "seeds" that started to erode your patience today?
  2. Think of several good things that happened today.  What was your reaction to them in contrast to your moments of challenge?
  3. If you lost your patience today, is this something that you have lost your patience over previously? 
  4. If you were on the verge of losing your patience but didn't, what did you employ that worked?
  5. Were you able to use prayer or meditation to suffer through the circumstances?
  6. If you lost your patience today, describe how it happened.
  7. What causes you to lose patience most often?
Friday, 10 September 2010 14:09

patience, passive and active

Written by rabbi russ resnik

art-counterI was recently stuck in line at the car rental counter behind a guy who appeared to have never rented a car before in his life. I’d say he was a classic nudnik, but I don’t think I should call someone a name in an article about ethics. With shorts a bit too tight and hitched up a bit too high upon his potbelly, and close-cropped gray hair over a worried brow, he questioned every line in the rental agreement.

Friday, 10 September 2010 12:31

patience as a spoke on a wheel

Written by rebbetzin malkah

You’re supposed to be somewhere.  You didn’t leave on time, or maybe you did.  You didn’t plan for mishaps, or maybe you planned for the worst and thought you were prepared.

Friday, 10 September 2010 11:02

warning: impatience is contagious

Written by rebbetzin malkah

art-sneezeThe remarkable yet sad outcome is the punishment of Moses and Aaron: they will not set foot into the land. One can imagine the great sadness they felt - all their striving for the sake of Heaven and one mistake seals their fate.


Friday, 10 September 2010 10:48

patience that breeds change

Written by riverton mussar

art-onefootOur Rabbis taught: A certain heathen once came before Shammai and asked him, "‘How many Torot have you?"

Friday, 10 September 2010 10:04

the patience of Hillel

Written by riverton mussar

art-tubTalmud - Mas. Shabbath 31a

 [Our Rabbis taught: A man should always be gentle like Hillel, and not impatient like Shammai.]

It once happened that two men made a wager with each other, saying, He who goes and makes Hillel angry shall receive four hundred zuz. Said one, I will go and incense him.

That day was the Sabbath eve, and Hillel was washing his head. He went, passed by the door of his house, and called out, "Is Hillel here, is Hillel here?"

Thereupon he robed and went out to him, saying, "My son, what do you require?"

"I have a question to ask", said he.

"Ask, my son", he prompted.

Thereupon he asked: "Why are the heads of the Babylonians round?"

"My son, you have asked a great question", replied he: "because they have no skillful midwives."

He departed, tarried a while, returned, and called out, "Is Hillel here; is Hillel here?"

He robed and went out to him, saying, "My son, what do you require?"

"I have a question to ask", said he.

"Ask, my son", he prompted.

Thereupon he asked: "Why are the eyes of the Palmyreans bleared?"

"My son, you have asked a great question", replied he: "because they live in sandy places."

He departed, tarried a while, returned, and called out, "Is Hillel here; is Hillel here?"

He robed and went out to him, saying, "My son, what do you require"

"I have a question to ask", said he.

"Ask, my son", he prompted.

He asked, "Why are the feet of the Africans wide?"

"My son, you have asked a great question", said he: "because they live in watery marshes."

"I have many questions to ask", said he, "but fear that you may become angry."

Thereupon he robed, sat before him and said, "Ask all the questions you have to ask".

"Are you the Hillel who is called the nasi of Israel?"

"Yes", he replied.

"If that is you", he retorted, "may there not be many like you in Israel."

"Why, my son", queried he.

"Because I have lost four hundred zuz through you", complained he. "Be careful of your moods", he answered, "Hillel is worth it that you should lose four hundred zuz and yet another four hundred zuz through him, yet Hillel shall not lose his temper."

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 16:10

patience as suffering

Written by rebbetzin malkah

The Hebrew word for patience is savlanut, which also means "tolerance."

This same Hebrew root also gives rise to words that means "suffer" (sevel) and "burdens" (sivlot). If we equate being patient with suffering, and patience as tolerating that which is not our will, we will have an easier time in difficult and unpredictable moments.  Once we lose the ability to have patience, anger or intolerance bubbles up within us. It is at that lowest point when we experience those feelings that we have mistakenly assumed we are masters over all, and we shun the ability of the Master of the Universe to work through us in an unplanned moment or sequence of events.

The next time you encounter a situation which brings you to the brink of losing your patience, practice this simple meditation.

First, take a few deep breaths.  Then, imagine a pine tree, one not larger than 5 feet tall with at least 30 branches that have offshoots.  As you imagine this tree before you, take upon the task in your mind to gently pluck every needle from the branches starting from the from top of the tree. Work your way down all branches of the tree in a very methodical way in your mind - slowly and deliberately.

What this will achieve for you is a mental focus, lowering of your blood pressure, controlled imagery, and will lessen your sensitivity to the matter at hand.  Guaranteed, the situation will become less urgent and more manageable.

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