July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Last week, there were few who weren’t complaining about the unseasonal weather. It’s too cold, it’s too damp and, as so many repeated, “when is summer going to be here?” Cashiers checking out customers at local grocery stores bemoaned the weather; chance meetings with friends began with them lamenting the weather, and all of us were disgusted by the unpleasant mood that the weather seemed to cast on us. Streets that are usually bustling with activity were noticeably deserted, and cafes that normally would require customers to have patience while finding a free table eagerly awaited hungry bodies.

Here we are as we write this, in the throes of a major heat wave less than a week after we suffered through the cold, damp air, and, once again, everyone is complaining. In fact, it is almost officially summer and warmth is what we expect at this time of year. Nevertheless, once again, comments of disapproval are heard frequently. “Oh my gosh, I cannot stand this heat, it is so uncomfortable.”

Perhaps if it were only the weather we complain about it would not be so annoying. What do people not complain about? “The prices are too high, the prices are too low.” “I thought I did the right thing by buying the Sienna and then I found out that the Odyssey is more spacious.” (Full disclosure: we do not know what either looks like; we are perfectly satisfied with our little Honda Civic.) “We never should have gone to Florida for Pesach. The weather was awful and we almost did not make it there because of the terrible weather and flying conditions.”

“We wish our children’s ‘gan’ was open six days a week. It is really annoying to have to think of activities to do with our children once a week.”

“It is unbelievable how many professional days there are in the schools these days. How much time does the staff need to prepare curriculum? Isn’t the fact that the teachers have off the entire summer enough time for them to plan the curriculum and do their course preparation? For what they are charging us one would think there should be less of these days.”

We could go on and on about the daily discussions people engage in, complaining about practically every aspect of their lives.

Thank God, there is at least one thing in our lives we are not able to control. Imagine how it would be decided which days it should rain, snow and be sunny if humans were making the choices. The weather is a direct reminder of the fact that we do not have control. Hashem is making those decisions for all of us.

Choosing a school for a child, buying a car and deciding where to vacation are great privileges we have, along with the myriad of other options we have in our lives. We are so fortunate and overwhelmingly grateful. It would be great if we could each make an effort to have at least one day a week where we pledge not to complain (or kvetch). Upon speaking with someone who tends to find fault with many things, try reminding them of how lucky we all are. It is definitely not an easy task. How bizarre that many of us are progeny of generations that suffered through so much. Our experience upon meeting members of our shul in Montreal who were Holocaust survivors was that they were so positive and appreciated the snow, the rain and the hot, humid days. It was all good. Perhaps we should keep that in mind the next time we feel annoyed. The world is enormously beautiful and we have so much to give thanks for. Let’s try to do it if for no other reason than to set positive examples for our children.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

 

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