Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Iyar 5763 - May 7, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Count Your Blessings
by R. Chadshai

Everything is relative, of course. Someone who misses the bus might think it's a calamity. A woman who just about copes with the mounds of daily laundry and by Friday heaves a sigh of relief that it is all folded, ironed and put away, then groans as her two yeshiva boys turn up with enormous piles of dirty clothes, which have to be washed, dried and ironed before Sunday. Then one day, she hears the washing machine emitting ominous noises. It shudders, coughs and comes to a standstill. Till it gets repaired, or buried and they buy a new one -- this lady longs for the daily routine of washing, folding and ironing.

They bought an apartment which was still under construction and were told it would be ready within two years. Meanwhile, they rented an unfurnished apartment and bought their own necessities. Unfortunately, the new appartment was not yet completed when their contract for the rented place was up, and they had to move to another one. A neighbor in their new abode had to move, too, but did not have the ace-in-the-hole that sooner or later she would be able to move into an apartment of her own. She had no money to purchase one, even `on paper.' The young couple realized that their troubles were not really as tragic as they had thought them to be, compared to their nomadic neighbor's.

"We were very happy where we lived, with good neighbors and a nice home. That was until Michael arrived. Our life became a misery. This eight-year-old junior neighbor was completely out of control. He terrorized the children, vandalized and destroyed anything in sight. In short, he was an impossible child. Complaints to the parents fell on deaf ears and we decided to move. Everything went well until our Danny was born. We noticed very early on that he was not like the others. He was irritable and restless, but we hoped that things would improve with time. These were vain hopes; he got worse as he grew older, wilder and more out of control, and the neighbors began to complain about him. I remembered Michael and deeply regretted the fact that I had not counted my blessings in the old flat, that Michael was not our son."

When Tirza reached marriageable age, people thought that she would be one of the first in her class to get engaged. She was the oldest in a well-to-do family, successful in all she did. In any event, her classmates got married one by one and by the age of twenty-six, Tirza had still not found her intended. One day, her mother met Mrs. Freedman, a former classmate of hers. She began to pour out her heart about the trouble she was having in finding a suitable shidduch for the girl, and that there were so many siblings in line waiting to get married, when she stopped short. She realized how ludicrous, even worse, how insensitive, it was that she was complaining of her lot to a woman who didn't even have a single child to worry about!

They were overjoyed when they finally had a little girl after several boys. Unfortunately, their joy was short- lived when they were told that she had Down's syndrome. The mother could not come to terms with this fact and spent many days and nights in tears. Then one day they were told that the little girl had a serious heart problem. At this point, the mother wished that her child had `only' Down's.

Avigail was seriously ill and her parents felt as if the world had collapsed around them. They spent all their time, energy and money on this one girl, wondering how she would catch up on her schooling and eventually get married. Then they heard of other children whose parents had no hope at all, either because of a physical or mental illness. Who cares about schooling or even shidduchim? Avigail is going to recover!

A woman who complains that she is "dropping off her feet" and is falling asleep standing up, should realize that there are many under-fulfilled women who would gladly change places with her, that there are many insomniacs who envy her ability to sleep "standing up."

The hungry man who has not enough money to buy his food should talk to the man who has absolutely no desire to eat. He will then appreciate his own healthy appetite. Another women who has her own babies to look after and perhaps a new grandchild in the house, also has aged parents who need her help, must appreciate that it is harder still to have nobody to look after, nobody who needs you.


There is an old Indian saying that goes: "I felt sorry for myself that I had no shoes -- until I saw someone who had no feet." When we compare ourselves to others, we have a choice. There are always those who are better off, and those who are worse off.

It always pays to count our blessings because there is no one in the world -- whether rich or poor, healthy or sick -- who does not receive some bounty from the Giver of all, at some time in his life.


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