Wednesday, January 3, 2007


I sat in a Therapist's office waiting.
As usual, I look at the mags, not really seeing anything.
After a while I get up, stretch, look around a bit. I glance at the noisemaker protecting whoever is in there, from my being a yenta.
I look up at the wall and see an old framed newspaper clipping. Curiosity fueled by boredom encourages me to read it.

When was a boy of 6, my mother used to work with yarn.
Not sweaters or another article of clothing but those 8 by 10 pictures that needed different colors to form some nature or other scenery.
I would often play by myself in games that only 6 year olds understood. My mother would smile at me when I would go past where she sat with her supplies of thread, I in turn would watch her hands moving skillfully.
"Mommy, what are you making?"
My mother eyes appeared distracted as she responded. "Come back soon honey, and I'll show you."
This scenario would repeat it self with small differences as the time moved swiftly by.
After a while, I would stop pestering and just look a my mothers work. From my view, as a 6 year old looking up, I would see the bottom of the frame. Loose threads hanging, an assortment of color, not really anything coherent, just a mess of string.
Finally, after trying to determine by any stretch of my young imagination and coming up empty, I asked again, "Mommy?"
"Yes, honey."
"It doesn't look like a picture. There are light and dark colors all in a jumble." I contemplated the weaving. “I like the light colors better. Couldn't you only use the light colors?"
My mother put her hands down and looked at me the laughter dancing in her eyes "come back in 10 minutes when it's finished and then I'll show it to you."
10 minutes, does a 6 year old really know how long that means, but I walked away, back to my amusements.
Soon enough it came "honey!, come and see."
My mother had placed her work on a side table and reached out to pick me up. Sitting me on her lap, she spread out the embroidery over my knees so that I could see it.
It was beautiful, a wilderness scene with flowing water and assorted wildlife.
"See" said my mother, pointing them out. "There are your light colors and there are the dark. With out the dark threads, it wouldn't be as nice."

Now that I'm older, have gotten married, have kids, been on the road of life for a while, I realize the fact that as diminutive humans, we can't really see the big picture.
As life rushes past us we seem to dwell on the dark threads. Threads that at 'weaving' time, seem completely unnecessary.
How could such catastrophes happen.
And how could G-d allow them to happen.

There is a story told about the Noam Elimelech, that when he was on his deathbed, a student of his, who had children, asked that when the Rebbe got to heaven, he should make sure that the evil decree of the cantonist children, should be abolished.
The Rebbe said he'd look into it.
Not long after that, the Rebbe died.
A few weeks later the Czar's soldiers were tearing apart the town looking for new little boys to be drafted. The student was heartbroken, how could this be, after the Rebbe said he's take care of it.
That night the student had a dream the rebbe was glowing, looked healther than he had in years. On the Rebbe's face was a sad smile.
"Rebbe” started the chusid. "The czar’s men were here again…”The chusid sobbed.
The rebbe spoke “I know mien kind, I know, but know that heaven, this is planned and desired, therefore I won’t prevent it.”

So do we really understand what Hashem wants?
I can only guess that the mesiras nefesh shown by those boys in the czar army and in their later years, made it more valuable than all else. Or maybe it was their father’s tefillos or the mother bitter tears that was required in the place.
I have heard it said that the current Jihad suicide bombers, on the average, really mean it l’shem shomayim, which puts us in bad light. Would we have such mesiras nefesh, if CH"V called upon, not me.
So what’s Hashem to do, well, knowing heaven is l’maale min hazmaan, I think G-d ‘arranged’ some voluntary mesiras nefesh on our part from a generation, that could supply it. Say the Jews of York or from the years 'tach tat' or thousand of others that Hashem has in the bank.
I dare say the account is big enough.


Y.Y. said...

you have no clue what you are saying go back to yeshiva

Sarachka said...

Nice post! It made me really thoughtful.
Y.Y- What I learnt in Historia class a few years ago corresponds directly to what yingerman wrote. so far I didn't find any garbage. I created a post in response to this article.

kasamba said...

I love this post-I'm with you 100%!!

Chaim Chusid said...


Wow what a colorful post.


I think it's obvious what he is trying to say, try reading it again.

I remain,

Chaim Chusid said...

Hold on one second here,,, A THERAPISTS OFFICE???

Y.Y. said...

i know exactly what yingerman is saying but ehr firt de eibershters cheshbonos so i disagree

NewReader said...

Wow, Yingerman'chick'l...

What an interesting post, you really got me thinking now.

Thanks for sharing this, I think it's great!

(And Y.Y, he's not saying he's making Hashem's chesbonos - he's telling us what light he sees our historia in...)

Pragmatician said...

It's the most classical explanation to the huge problem of why bad things happen to essentially good people.
It definitely makes sense that we don't see the entire picture and therefore are unable to judge what's good or bad.
But isn't it frustrating that we remain the ignorant little kid from the story no matter how old we are?

Anonymous said...

The Lubavitcher Rebbe ztz"l once said that the mesiras nefesh of our generation is greater than the mesiras nefesh of the generations that were killed r"l for their yiddishkeit - the challenges of living a frum life today are greater. Mesiras nefesh does not just mean willing to be killed ch"v for Hashem, but rather "mesiras haratzon", 'sacrificing' our desires to Hashem.

yingerman said...

please eich bate dir 'get a life'

Sarachka n' Kasamba
thank you

Reb Chaim Chusid
shkoyach oh did I say therapist? I meant a lawyer....or a motivational think tank personel member.

New reader(chickle?)
your welcome

Its nice knowing but yes we are very very small. See next comment.

"we're riding high on our fathers shoulders,
our fathers shoulders...."
Avrohom Fried circa dunno

Y.Y. said...

very well said anon im thinking of turning into a lubavitcher

chaverah said...

very interesting. First off can you tell us why you were sitting in a therapist office???? lol

ok seriously, love the story with the threads! I understand LOGICALLY that we need dark and light but its hard to except. dont you agree? It is just to difficult to except hardship.

Anonymous said...

yingerman - that does not mean that our mesiras nefesh is inferior to theirs. They were on a higher spiritual plane so their avodah was greater - even more of a reason that nowadays a person that leads a frum life is more moser nefesh, because we're on a lower spiritual level - but davka we have the power to drive it all home.

Anonymous said...

y.y. you a lubab???????? oh u make ma laugh -

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Nice story and good post. Good lesson that is hard to really materialize.

David_on_the_Lake said...

Good post..
I was at a nichum avelim for a very tragic young person that died..and there was a rebbe there..I wont say who..
and the rebbe said..m'darf gleiben az s'vett zein git...
We have to beleive that theres good behind everything..
so someone there said..s'iz shoin git..
Its already good now..
so the rebbe said...
duss meg men gleiben..uber m'tur ess nisht zugen
You can believe that..but you cant say it..
In other words we believe that theres good behind everything..but to say it b'peh molei..and really mean it we are incapable of..
thats why we grieve..and cry out..

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Wonderful post!
And yes, anyone with some knowledge of our history realizes that the bank is quite large.

Anonymous said...

I treasure the ups as much as I do the downs, because the ups are so much more up when they come on the heels of the downs.

FunkyJew82 said...

great post! love the message!