just being there
Also, I had another column come out in the Jewish Post & News:
Foreigners, Egypt and Derech Eretz
--Derech Eretz is Hebrew and means literally 'the way of the land' but really means "How one should behave." Here's an article on Derech Eretz if you want to learn more. Usually, I get few direct comments on anything I write. This time, I've already gotten two emails. One honored me with a problem she was having. It was a person who felt like a foreigner/outsider in the Jewish community simply because she didn't drive anymore, and couldn't catch a ride to synagogue. I felt lucky enough to know who to email to maybe try to solve the problem--I'm hoping that we can fix that.
The second person wrote a kind note about my column, and in the process, I learned from him. He pointed out that (in transliterated Hebrew)-- "Derech Eretz Kadmo l'Torah" or, in English, "how we behave comes before Torah/learning." That is, being a decent well-behaved person who cares about others is a prerequisite to being learned/wise.
I had the opportunity this past week to try to be a good person. Several times I just had to be there, at that moment, when someone needed support. This sort of thing doesn't make dinner or get our family ready for Passover or earn money--but in essence it is the most important thing. It means taking extra time to listen or do something when I am really pretty busy. In thinking about it later, everything else worked itself out. It's hard to be calm down my inner control freak, the one that manically worries about managing all the daily details that keep our household afloat... but obviously, it helps to be in the moment and present when someone needs you.
It's worth it.