The ironic thing about blogging is that it seems that if you have a lot to write about, you don’t have time to write it. I thought I would find an abundance of free time when my children went to school. But my calendar quickly filled up with school supply shopping for eight teachers, and open house meetings and phone calls for four children. And now it’s time to prepare for Rosh Hashanah. All this racing around has not made me a happy camper. Which brings me to my epiphany (or aha moment, in Oprah speak)
Have you ever been looking straight ahead and accidentally stepped on gum because you werent really looking around? I guess in cliche world, it’s seeing the forest for the trees. And I think it’s really common this time of year.
Yes, we have something called hiddur mitzvah, beautification of the mitzvah. This is not really where us Five Townsers are known to fail. We usually dress to the nines and entertain in full Martha Stewart mode for Shabbos and yom tov. But do we neglect a few other, less visible, mitzvos on the way?
For example, perhaps while selecting the best cuts of meat at the supermarket, you got annoyed that an elderly woman asked you what time it is. Or perhaps because you had just whipped out the old credit card for a new wardrobe for the family, you declined on a few tzedakah requests. Or even closer to home, perhaps you couldn’t help your child study for an upcoming quiz because you were menu planning. I know all these incidents begin with the best of intentions. But it reminds me of something I once heard Rebbetzin Esther Jungreiss say. Granted, her audience was single Upper West Siders and it is hard to even imagine putting into place here. But she said that the important thing is to have guests, even if you serve them a tuna fish sandwich.
Now, I also find it hard to do this on both ends, playing hostess with the mostest or emphasizing the mitzvah part of hachnasas orchim versus the big show. But this time of year, as I’m writing this, I realize if producing the big show is causing failures in other mitzvah observance, it’s times to cut some corners of the show, serve 2 appetizers instead of 3, wear some outfits a third time, etc in order to refocus on bein adam lchaveiro.