May 21, 2024
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May 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

On many Shabbos afternoons, when we lived in Montreal, a group of people would come to our home and listen to a shiur Mordechai would give on the halachot pertaining to the mitzvoth concerning “bein adom le chavero,” to the rules that guide behavior between human beings.

Our mission was an attempt at bettering ourselves as human beings and discussed issues affecting our everyday life and how we didn’t realize that sometimes when we did things in an innocent way, it had a negative impact on someone else.

One of these “issues” concerned behavior noticed in the check-out lanes of the local supermarkets, and how annoying it was in the express lines if people had more in their baskets than they should have. The clerk was supposed to ask these people to move to the appropriate check-out line, but they never did that, and the rest of us would stand behind the offender and fume.

Then there was the person with two items who heads for the conventional line and, claiming urgency, asks each person in front of him or her if she could move forward on the line…a form of sophisticated line jumping. Well, we are all in a rush, today, aren’t we? So how should we respond to these things?

Last week, Nina was parked in the Glatt Express/Lazy Bean lot on a snowy and blowy day. Nina was about to pull out, when the [frum] woman parked right next to her finished unloading, moved her cart behind Nina’s trunk, and climbed into her van. It wasn’t as if the woman didn’t see Nina get into her car while she was loading her groceries. She did.

Nina got out of her car and knocked on the lady’s car window to ask if she was the person who put the shopping cart behind her car. The woman said, yes, she was sorry, and then began to carry on with annoyance at Nina, because she was pressured to get out of the van to move the cart. She was venting with frustration for being forced to do such a thing [take responsibility and accountability].

The rudeness and dangerous behavior of drivers on New Bridge Road is another example of sheer thoughtlessness. They somehow can never find it in their hearts to slow down long enough for us to get our cars out of the driveway. We’ve become fairly good at zipping in and out, but there are times during peak drive time, when we sit there for as long as ten minutes, before we can pull out–because everyone else is in a rush.

Years ago, when we were waiting to complete renovations in our home in Montreal, we were living with friends and decided to “try out” the Baily Shul. The Baily shul is well known in Montreal–it does have a real name–Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem or TBDJ on Baily Street. We walked to shul together early Shabbos morning. When we got there and Nina went up to the Ezrat Nashim, she realized she was the first to arrive.

She sat down in a seat and began to daven. Within a few minutes, lady number two entered, walked directly over to Nina, and told her that she was sitting in her seat. Large area, tons of seats, and this woman did not have the courtesy to welcome a stranger or allow the newcomer to sit comfortably in her chosen seat.

Mordechai recalled a similar experience during his YU days, when he decided to walk over to the Breuer side of town and daven at Breuer’s on Shabbos morning. As soon as he sat down, a man came over to him and told him that he was in his seat. Afraid to make another gross mistake like that again, Mordechai stood throughout the davening.

Today, toddlers and little kids who run in and out of the sanctuary take up seats when adults have no place to sit.

We think it is time to be more considerate of one another. Many of us probably do not even realize that we can be really annoying to others–but somehow we are aware of when others are annoying to us. Let’s not look at anyone else–let’s just concentrate on ourselves. It will really work!

By  Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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