middot frugality Displaying items by tag: tragedy
Sunday, 13 March 2011 11:02

calmness and complacency

art-theendYou will hear the noise of wars nearby and the news of wars far off; see to it that you don’t become frightened. Such things must happen, but the end is yet to come. For peoples will fight each other, nations will fight each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various parts of the world; all this is but the beginning of the ‘birthpains.’ Matt. 24:6–8

For my first few years as a follower of Yeshua I suffered from what one of my colleagues later diagnosed as end-times fever. And I wasn’t alone. Friends, mentors, the voices on the radio or cassette tapes—all were convinced that Messiah’s return was so near that we should devote all our energies to being ready and helping everyone we knew to get ready too, before it was too late.

Published in besorah
Friday, 11 March 2011 11:43

calm in the midst of the storm

art-nestKeeping one’s cool, or calmness, is a fairly important middah, or characteristic for a person to have. When a person is calm, they can act from their intelligence instead of from their emotions. When we act from emotions, we often make mistakes we regret later.

Published in daily living
Friday, 25 February 2011 00:00

got a moment?

art-riverbankRabbi Yisrael Salanter took particular pains always to be on time for his lectures. Yet once it had become very late and he had still not made his appearance. Concerned, his students went outside to look for him. When they reached the bridge leading to the city, they noticed him standing deep in conversation with a young woman. They understood that he was occupied with some grave matter and withdrew.

When he finally entered the Yeshivah, R. Israel apologized for being so late, but explained that a matter of life and death had detained him. The students subsequently investigated and finally the details of the incident were pieced together: On his way to the Bet Midrash, he was about to cross the bridge when he suddenly noticed an excited woman rushing towards the river. He stood in her way, stopped her and asked her why she was running. She tried to pass by him and told him to leave her alone. R. Israel grasped her by the sleeve and repeated his request that she tell him what was the matter. Forced to remain where she was, she unfolded her tale of woe.

A short while ago her two children were taken ill, and had died a few days later. So overcome with grief was her husband that he had been unable to work for the past several weeks. They had been forced to hire someone else to drive their wagon, and in this way managed to subsist and cover the costs of the husband's illness. Suddenly the horse died. Their sole means of support was gone. In despair, she had decided to throw herself into the river.

R. Israel talked to her at length. Tenderly and softly he explained to her that God could easily make good her deficiencies. She was still young. A year from now she could bear another child, and so on. Her husband would recover and resume his occupation. As for the loss of the horse, he would send her the money for another the next day. Slowly the woman became pacified and regained her composure. She thanked R. Israel for the goodness of his heart and returned home. A year later R. Israel was invited to attend the Brit Milah of her newly born son.   

The Mussar Movement, Volume 1, Part 2, pages 247- 248.

Published in stories

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