Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Distractions


Hashem sends us messages through the most unlikely channels. Sometimes in the very place where you turn to run away from him you find him in the most intense form...

I once heard an eye opening thought from my Mashgiach Zt'l that was a little difficult for me to hear and fully comprehend until I chanced upon an old Jewish joke that was just a perfect parable to the above mentioned idea.

I'll start with the joke.

There was once a city bus driver named Herman who was given a route up 2nd Ave to drive every morning. It was a quiet yet integral route in the vast bus route network. At the end of the day Herman would come back to the depot with about $150.

One day at 6:00PM Herman came striding into the bus depot with a huge grin on his face. He made his way to his bosses office and desk and placed $565 down and sat down across from his bosses puzzled expression.
"What's this Herman?"
"Boss I found a route...down 5th ave..I'm telling you..it's a goldmine!"

That's the joke.

Hermans folly is clear. He doesn't see the big picture..and while he certainly meant well..if he were to continue that 5th ave route he would most definitely be fired..no matter how much money he brings in. That's because the 5th ave route is not HIS route. He's not doing anyone a favor by going down 5th ave.

The lesson is that every person has one primary goal and assignment to accomplish and deep down everyone knows what that is. It is the one thing that the Yetzer Horah really puts his energy into.
For every person it's different.
But we try to avoid this by focusing on other things..thinking that somehow davening better, or giving alot of tzedakah etc..will help distract us from our true monumental task
We think that somehow we can come into Hashems office at the end of the day and place a wad of cash and he'll forget about our true job.


May Hashem give us strength to face and rise up to our true challenges.

.

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36 Comments:

Blogger Chaya said...

The way I see it...if you're not going to accomplish your primary goal, then davening better and giving lots of tzedakah is a good idea.
At the end of the day, when we come into Hashem's office, and we did not fulfill our assignment, at least we have the wad of cash. No...He won't forget about our true job, but it might prevent us from being fired...

March 06, 2007 10:50 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Chaya..
But thats a cop out and these other mitzvos themselves can actually become distractions..
And no one has come back back from the next world to assure us that we wont be fired.

March 06, 2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger Chaya said...

Cop out? Why?
I'm not saying that we shouldn't be focusing on the primary goal...of course we should. But we don't always do what we should be doing.
We don't know what happens in the next world, but a few extra mitzvos in our account can't hurt.

March 06, 2007 12:08 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I agree with chaya at least you are getting other mitzvos. If a person is not getting to their primary goal anyway the other mitzvos can't be bad.

March 06, 2007 12:16 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

I'm not saying theyre bad...
But if they make you feel better and help you distract yourself from your main battle then they can be bad and can get u fired

March 06, 2007 12:27 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I don't think doing mitzvos would end up getting you fired.

March 06, 2007 1:10 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

of course not...just like making money for the bus company doesnt get u fired..
Its ignoring your real mission that might get you fired.

March 06, 2007 1:14 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

I disagree, David. It would make me feel better...but what's wrong with that?
And I hope I never get so focused on the main goal that I neglect those other mitzvos for fear of distraction. (Probably no danger ot that, though.)

March 06, 2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

And if you have all those 'distracting' mitzvos in our account, I don't think ignoring your real mission will get you fired. It just might not get you the ideal promotion.

March 06, 2007 1:27 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Doing the other mitzvos won't make you ignore the mission imho.

March 06, 2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Ok..
Perhaps I should say.
I'm speaking for myself here.
I know my central failing and it's so difficult..but then I'll say Tehillim and write a big check..and I'll feel good about myself..when I should be focused on tackling my central issue..and focused 100% on working on it.

March 06, 2007 1:36 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

Keep focusing on whatever you feel you should be...but don't stop saying Tehillim or writing those big checks. And feel good about it, too!

March 06, 2007 1:44 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

If you stop saying tehillim and writing a big check that won't help you get to your mission faster. You could feel good about those mitzvos and realize you still have your mission to conquer.

March 06, 2007 2:09 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 06, 2007 2:09 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Naturally..that is ideal

March 06, 2007 2:10 PM  
Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

Obviously he wants to do both, he just doesn't want for tehillim and tzedaka to be a substitute for the others things he needs to do.

March 06, 2007 4:08 PM  
Blogger Bas~Melech said...

I think David's comment, "I know my central failing and it's so difficult..but then I'll say Tehillim and write a big check..and I'll feel good about myself..when I should be focused on tackling my central issue..and focused 100% on working on it." pulled this post together for me. At first I felt like the other commentators, besides wondering how you're supposed to know what the "main mission" is. But now I see what you mean, and it's a good point to keep in mind. Ie, of course you should be doing all the mitzvos but that doesn't make up for the other things you're not doing. We should never just be complacent with our failings and say, oh well I'm ok otherwise.

March 06, 2007 11:37 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

"Lo yomar adam echetah viashuv..."

I remember girls saying during high school "why are they preaching to us about such and such? i still have a lot to work on before i get to there."
problem is, most never even began to work on the basics...

I just heard a speech- he said that we think the yetzer harah lives off are bad deeds, but that's not true, if there wouldnt be good in the world, he wouldn't survive. what he lives off of are the good deeds we do - the deeds we give him after commiting bad.

March 07, 2007 2:01 AM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

Wow!!!!!!!!
Love it!!!

March 07, 2007 7:01 AM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

Chaya..

I think you're missing the idea of 'looking at the bigger picture'

- all of what you said is true..
about not neglecting mitzvos and actions that don't necessarily define your primary goal (we can only guess at what our priimary goals are.. we don't REALLY know for sure)

but i think that it's not about 'getting fired' or not 'getting fired' or 'coming in with wads of cash' rather than nothing..
It's more about being a small part of a bigger picture, the cog in the wheel.. and if youre not 'working properly' .. you're affecting the 'system'

or at least it's the way I see it.

March 07, 2007 7:05 AM  
Blogger nuch a chosid said...

powerful messege!
Hashem doesnt accept bribes, that is.
He wasnt saying that u shouldt say tehilim or give tzedaka, he was sayuing that u cant subsitute that for othr things, and fail your real mission

March 07, 2007 12:29 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

TOWIK, Yes...there is always a bigger picture, and ideally, we'd all be accomplishing exactly what we were put on earth to accomplish. My point is...what about those of us who are not doing that?
NAC, I understand that he wasn't suggesting not saying tehillim or giving tzedakah. But I don't believe Hashem sees it as a bribe. I think it's accepted for whatever value it has...as a mitzvah. Sure, we shouldn't fail our real mission...but I don't see that there is any connection between that and the other mitzvos. They each have their own merit, and one is not a substitute for the other. Both are important.
And if you're not doing that great with your real mission, and the other mitzvos are easing your conscience...so what? When we get to Hashem's 'office', and we haven't accomplished our real goal, don't you think those other mitzvos will help tip the scale? Makes me feel good just thinking about it....

March 07, 2007 1:21 PM  
Blogger yingerman said...

David, you got my vote, I just wish I knew exactly what my jobs is......
sigh.

March 07, 2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger Mata Hari said...

David - you think it's so obvious for a person to know their true mission? I wish it were.
Or maybe you can consult with me and let me know.
MH

March 07, 2007 2:07 PM  
Blogger chana said...

Put it this way - the bus company is run by the city. Their main goal is providing transportation and service to their residents. The cash keeps the system running. When Herman came in with the $565, he wasnt doing anyone any favors. Aside from the fact that the real 5th Ave busdriver would have come in with the same amount of cash, there were a whole bunch of people stranded on 2nd Avenue! Because of Herman, the city failed in its service to its residents.

Each one of us has a vital mission in life, no one can replace us, and we cant get credit for anyone else's job. When I do a Mitzvah to ease my conscience or to sooth a guilt-trip, it's missing the point. Hashem doesnt need my band-aids now, He needs me to accomplish my purpose in this world. Living life like that is failing yourself and G-d. And life was never about feel-good. Not according to Yiddishkeit anyway.

We still always must remember - Hashem created us human, with a tremendous tendancy to mess up. Over and over. That's part of our journey.
Hashgacha Protis dictates your personal mission. Your challenges, circumstances, gifts & responsibilities are all custom-designed for you to accomplish what you are here for.

March 07, 2007 3:46 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

chana - nice explanation.
thanks.

March 07, 2007 8:30 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

lvnsm..
exactly

bas.melech...
Thats exactly the point..

the_dreamer...
thats a very deep and scary concept..that R'Yonoson Eibshutz says..
Sometimes the yetzer harah gets us to do mitzvos so he can feed off them..
Thats when were firmly in his clutches...

TOWIK...
thats a very valid angle...the fact that what you dont do effects everyone else..and thus the damamge is more than just personal

nuch...
thanks..

chaya...
From what I recall..it seems this primary mission is really what tips the scale..
I'm sure mitzvos help..but the main objective is to fulfill your mission..

yinger and mata...
Thanks..
It seems that deep down every person senses where the yetzer harah is always tripping him up...
There are 4 primary failings based on the 4 elements that were all comprised of..
1. earth - laziness
2. fire - anger
3. water - desire
4. wind - gaaveh, haughtiness
and every persons primary struggle is rooted in one of these..

Chana...
perfect explanation..Thanks

March 07, 2007 8:44 PM  
Blogger It's All Good Now said...

Since we don't know what our true job is, and we also don't know how much value Hashem places on each of our dollar bills (a/k/a deeds), it would be prudent for us to excel in as many areas as possible.

March 07, 2007 8:54 PM  
Blogger Bas~Melech said...

To those who have difficulty determining their "true mission" in life:

What you are thinking of is the Chasidic concept a la Baal Shem Tov type stories, in which someone ends up in a wierd location, does something unexpected, then dies because that was their mission in life and they fulfilled it. Of course, they subsequently appear to someone in a dream which is how we know about this.

I am NOT making fun of that concept. Just pointing out where our views are coming from.

This leads one to imagine their mission in life as something drastic or at least clearly defined, and as you haven't had a revelation yet you'll never be quite sure which opportunity represents your mission. So you may as well give as much tsedaka as possible, or something like that, maybe that's your mitzva.

However, according to widely accepted mussar concepts, you really do know deep down what your mission is.

Each person is tailor-made for their mission. What makes things happen? Scientifically speaking, an action results in an equal and opposite reaction, or something of the sort. Therefore, in order to get you to fulfill your mission, HaShem has given you a challenge, an opposing force, in that area. Your mission, glamorous or not, is to pass the tests that YOU were given.

Now, every person is supposed to be doing all the mitzvot. But the one that's hardest for you-- that's where your potential greatness lies. Thus, it defeats the purpose to say, "Well, I give a lot of tsedaka. But kibud av, well that's really hard for me, I guess I'm not cut out for it. My mission must be the tsedaka."
NO, NO, NO! If it's easy for you to give tsedaka, that's wonderful, please give! But don't let that stop you from fighting as hard as you can in the difficult area!

I think you do know what your mission is. It may be hard to accept because it probably doesn't sound like the "American Hero" mission, but remember:
"Aizeh hu gebor, hacovesh es yitzroe-- Mighty is the one who can overcome his evil inclination."
I think this is what David was referring to.

Chazak ve'ematz.

March 08, 2007 3:50 AM  
Blogger Bas~Melech said...

Sorry for such a long comment, but as you can see I'm a bit impassioned right now... and it's nearly 4am of an extremely busy day, if this wasn't important I'd be sleeping...

March 08, 2007 3:51 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

itsallgood....
but deep down we do know our real job...as

bas_melech..
wonderfully explained..as only someone impassioned at 4am can..

March 08, 2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger Chaya said...

How deep? Cuz I wish I knew mine...

March 08, 2007 3:40 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

chaya...
keep diggin..

March 08, 2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger the sabra said...

that was beautiful

really

March 09, 2007 9:23 AM  
Blogger Bas~Melech said...

Chaya-- It should be right near the surface. Open your eyes really wide; don't be afraid of what you'll see.

March 10, 2007 7:12 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

the sabra...
Thanks

March 10, 2007 8:21 PM  

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