Friday, November 21, 2008


Dedicated to the memory of Miriam bas Simcha (Rudick), who passed away last week. She was an extraordinarily loyal wife and mother who taught her children the art of lovingkindness.
(To dedicate a future Table Talk, send an email.)

Please print this page for your dinner table....

A story, a question, an enigma and a question.

The story – remember the sukka rain cover that I blogged about a few weeks ago? (here’s a photo)

So last weekend, a fairly strong (but not unusual) wind blew off one of the plastic roof panels. It looked to me that this specific panel had been improperly secured in the first place.

When I phoned the carpenter on Sunday to tell him what happened, the conversation went something like this:

“Hi Mike (not his real name)? How are you?”

“Fine Mr. Seinfeld, what can I do for you?”

“Well, unfortunately, one of the roof panels came off.”

“How did this happen?”

“Well, I think I know exactly how it happened, but I want you to come look at it. I think it was the wind.”

“The wind?! Then it’s not my fault! I cannot be responsible for wind! You expect if a tree falls on your roof that I will be responsible for it? This is not my fault!”

“Mike, it wasn’t a hurricane. It was a regular wind. Are you saying that you didn’t build the roof strong enough to stand in a regular wind?”

“Of course I did. There’s no way a regular wind could have blown off one of those panels. They had plenty of screws. If one blew off, it’s not my fault!”

“Mike, I think that the way this panel was attached was the problem, but I want you to come look at it. Will you please come look at it?”

This leads to my first question: We all have our bad moments, our moments of anger or frustration – what creates the tipping point?

+ + + +

The Enigma – A married guy calls to ask how to deal with his anger problem (actually, this happened several times recently; is it a trend?)

After we discussed the roots of anger and certain strategies, I told him the midrash about Moses.

In the Torah, Moses is described as both the “greatest” person who ever lived and the “most humble.” Yet the midrash describes him differently, as having an angry nature, burning with an intense and ugly wrath.

How do these two versions of Moses fit together?

My answer is that greatness is not defined by your natural abilities. It is in fact defined by your natural shortcomings, and what you do in this very short lifetime to transcend them.

In other words, Moses wasn't great in spite of his anger. He was great because of his anger. Conquering his anger was the key to his personal shleimus (spiritual completion). His anger was a gift.

Which leads to my second question – since I’m confident that only good people read this blog, I’m wondering if there are any wanna-be great ones out there? If so, would you mind sharing your secret?

Shabbat Shalom.

Some anger vids 4 U...

No comments: