Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Iyar 5766 - May 24, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Ask Not for Whom the Phone Rings . . . it Rings for You!
by Dena Newman

Are you like most girls? It's a typical day — you come home from school, and (if you're lucky!) your Mom is there to greet you . . . maybe with some treat or fresh fruit. Then, there is always someone at home who needs you — especially if there are little siblings. Perhaps you start setting the table, talk to your little brother or sister or maybe relax with a book or game. Supper comes, followed by some degree of clean up, and then there's homework! Before you know it, it's time to prepare for the next day and go to sleep.

What's missing? The lovely sound of the phone ringing — friends calling to see how you are, do homework or just schmooze. It seems like that is what most everyone else is experiencing, but by you, it's just not happening. If you feel this way, you have more company than you think. And not just girls — but many women are plagued with the same feelings. No one calls, no one cares . . . and it isn't fair!

So let's investigate and analyze this situation. Basically, there are two parts to this problem. The first seems to be a fact — perhaps it is — no one is calling. The second is an assumption — everyone else is getting lots of calls. Now let's go deeper — is it really true that no one is calling? Was it always the case? Did you used to get some calls, but were often quick to get off the phone? This is really individual, but each of us can do some self- examination here. 'Was I friendly to each person who ever called?' 'Did I make an effort to extend the call?' 'If my classmate called to ask what the homework was, did I suggest doing it together?' And so on. Perhaps, without realizing it, you have sent out a 'message' that you are not interested in getting calls.

Let us assume however, that for now you are simply not getting calls and it is just depressing. Part of why you may feel this way brings us to the second part of this problem. 'Everybody else gets calls.' The surprising truth emerges as the complaints are sounded. Lots of people are feeling the same way as you. There are not so many people getting lots of calls. Are there any? Yes, of course. But what's the situation for most of us? Not too many calls.

Which opens up a world of opportunity. You can make calls! Yes — you! You can start with classmates — was anyone absent? Give them a call. Did anyone celebrate a simchah in their family? Call & wish Mazal Tov. Do you have information (a sale, a great book to recommend, a mitzvah opportunity?) Share it!

Speaking of mitzvah opportunities, how about older relatives? Most of them would love to get a good Shabbos call. Maybe you (or your family or friends) know some shut- ins. If you have no time for visits, perhaps you can call, just to see how they feel. They would love to know that someone cares. Perhaps you can help someone with a new baby, or even an older baby. Your neighbor would be thrilled.

This type of activity can also supply you with an `excuse' to call classmates and include them in your mitzvah activities. There are always people who need help; the opportunities are almost endless. Visits to nursing homes, helping set up for a kiddush, bris or shalom zocher, helping someone study for a test or do homework . . . All of these can increase your interaction with your peers, and you will learn so much in the process! Since you cannot know where you will end up after marriage, you will also have taught, or trained yourself how to thrive in a new community.

Although this may sound like a lot of tiring work, it will energize and invigorate you — remember, that as you help others, you will be the first beneficiary of your largesse (i.e.: when you help others you help yourself the most!)

Good Luck!


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