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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Emor

Parshat Emor

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Parashat Emor                                                                                   Print Version
13th of Iyar, 5778 | May 18, 2019

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi YY Jacobson 
Men and Women

We are all familiar with the myriad of men and women jokes, highlighting their unique differences and idiosyncrasies. While many of them make us laugh, we do so because they point to an underlying, though often exaggerated, truth. But at the core, we are well aware that Hashem has created man and woman with specific modes of thinking, feeling and acting, and an interplay between these two forces often elicits tears of joy or tears of hurt. Examining some basic realities then, some funny, some phony, provides the opportunity to dig deeper into appreciating who we are as man and woman, husband and wife and learn to practice patience instead of persistent pestering.

One day, I was asked what the difference between men and women are on a Kabbalistic level. Humorously, I replied the following.

Men are waffles and women are spaghetti. Have you ever eaten a waffle? Every waffle is full of self-contained square compartments with four walls around it. When you pour maple syrup onto the waffle, you make sure it stays within the square. That typifies men.

Women, on the other hand, are spaghetti. There is no such thing as eating one string of spaghetti. Every stand of pasta is intertwined and interconnected with tons of other pieces.

For men, their brain is compartmentalized, with dozens of filing cabinets. There is a filing cabinet called the wife, the kids, the car, the house, the mother-in-law, the job. Everything has a separate place and space. When it comes time for paying the bills, men open the filing cabinet called Bills, carefully making sure not to touch any of the other filing cabinets, and take out a piece of paper. Oftentimes, nothing gets done with it, and it is quietly put back in and the drawer is closed, all the while ensuring that nothing else gets damaged.

In the middle of his brain, there is a huge filing cabinet, and it filled with empty space. It is where men can relax and feel free of all responsibility and obligation. Nothing goes on. They put up their feet and… and … Exactly that … When a wife therefore asks her husband, what are you doing and he says, “Nothing,” he genuinely means it and she can hardly believe it. “You must have a fever… what happened…” The wife begins to worry something is wrong.

What drives a woman crazier than anything else is hearing the answer, “Nothing,” because in her mind, it doesn’t exist. A woman’s mind is like the World Wide Web. It is like Microsoft Windows where every possible window is open, and the tabs are switching back and forth and back and forth. Neurons are constantly interacting every single moment like spaghetti. 
This is why you will encounter the following scene…

A husband returns home after a day’s work and decides that tonight he is going to be a good husband. After dinner, he sits down with this wife on the sofa, and asks how her day went. “Wow!” the wife thinks to herself. “This is wonderful!” She starts sharing her day with him…

The cleaners ruined my $150 dress…

Meanwhile, the husband is opening up the filing cabinet called “Cleaners.” You can see the wrinkles on his forehead as he concentrates on her every word.

From that crisis, the wife moves to the fact that she doesn’t like her job.

Now the husband begins opening another cabinet called “Job.” Before the Job cabinet is fully opened, the wife moves onto discussing the fact that your sister insulted her at a recent bar mitzvah.

Now the husband opens the filing cabinet called bar mitzvah. But his wife is already discussing how you need more cleaning help…

Open file cabinet called cleaning help.

“Yaakov is not happy in third-grade,” she says.

Close cabinet of Cleaning help. Open cabinet called Yaakov in third-grade.

The husband’s mind is flying from topic to topic… By now, his wife has been talking for two minutes and ten seconds, and has already explored 22 topics. And this is just the beginning.

Opening, closing, opening, closing, file cabinet after file cabinet… And nothing can touch anything else. Now after four minutes, close to 100 topics have been discussed. And the husband is shaking his head to help him stay awake and alert.

The only logical thing he can think of right now is fall asleep. Within seconds, he is “snoring.” The wife, looking at her husband with a stone-walled face, cannot believe that such a romantic experience suddenly turned into a sleeping opportunity. She is hurt. Little does she know that your snoring is an expression of your deepest love. The only other option he had, in the back of his mind, was walking away, but he loves you so much, so he decided that snoring was better. All he wishes is for his wife to look at him and think to herself, “The love of my life, my dearest and devoted husband…”

… If you’ve laughed or let out a smile once or twice, there is a reason for that. Remember, Hashem created man and woman and they get married. There are many, many differences. Chazal state that marriage is like Splitting the Sea, no less than a phenomenal miracle. Perhaps now, you can appreciate in one way how that statement is true.

Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron 
The Kidney Transplant

Sam and Max had been close friends ever since they could remember. Having gone to nursery, elementary, middle and high school together, their friendship was as good as could be. As they soon became of marriageable age, Sam went on to get married, as did Max three months later. Within months, Sam had a baby boy, with Max following shortly thereafter with the same.

As Sam and Max’s children grew up, they befriended each other as their parents had done and wound up attending the same school, which was a drive away from their respective homes. In order to ease the trip of taking the kids to school, Sam and Max decided to carpool their kids together. They would alternate days in which to take them.

Everything was working great until Black Monday occurred, as Sam’s wife referred to it as. As was the case, Sam always carefully ensured that the one of the back doors which faced oncoming traffic was locked, while the other remained open for the kids to get out onto the curb. It was a wise safety precaution, which successfully kept the boys in check. Max, however, was not as particular in locking one door and keeping the other unlocked.

One day, as Max parked the car and prompted the boys to get out of the car for school, the unexpected occurred. Sam’s son stepped out onto the road as a car sped down in his direction. It was just seconds later that Sam’s son was hit. Tragically, did not make it.

The shock and sadness which filled Sam’s family was unparalleled and unbearable. Max as well felt absolutely terrible and terrified by what he had done. He could barely bring himself to pay a shivacall to Sam and his family, until a few days later.

Max eventually made his way over, though everyone knew that it was the last time he would ever see Sam. Their friendship which had been so close would be over. It could not weather the pain such a calamity brought in its wakening.

Max took it extremely hard as well. As could be understood, he struggled to live with the reality that he had taken a young boy’s life. He begged Sam to forgive him and sooth the indescribable anguish this evoked for all involved, but Sam in no way responded to his pleas. Max persistently sought Sam, urging him to forgive his egregious mistake. But Sam would not hear of it nor forgive and forget Max’s doing. He wanted nothing to do with Max at all ever again.

Within a month, Sam and his wife moved out to a new neighborhood, intending to start life anew as best as they could. A year later, they were blessed with twins and shortly thereafter, with another child. It in no way replaced the loss of their previous son, but was taken as a gift of Heaven which in some small way eased their pain.

Life went on, as the kids grew up and attended school. One day, though, Sam’s wife received a frantic phone call from the hospital. “If you could please come to the hospital immediately, your husband is here.” She wasted no time, and showed up in the hospital in a panic. “Your husband fainted at work,” she was told, “and when he was brought to the hospital, we realized that he had suffered kidney failure and needed to go on dialysis.” She looked over at her husband, a courageous, tough man who had now been brought to a less than compromised state. It wasn’t long before he was forced to quit his job and devote himself to doing everything in the interest of saving his life.

A few months later, Sam and his wife received a message from the doctor overseeing Sam’s recovery process. “I need to meet with you both as soon as possible,” he urgently conveyed. “I was reviewing your charts and paperwork, Sam, and it is clearly evident that you are at the end stage of renal failure. It doesn’t look good. You have about three more months to live until your condition becomes terminal and all your internal systems shut down. The only option at this point is to call for a kidney transplant. Yet, I must be honest, your blood type is very rare and you will need to find someone else who likewise has this very unusual blood type.” “So what does this all mean?” Sam and his wife unnervingly asked. “We will put you on the waiting list and G-d willing, pray and do whatever you can. Hopefully, we will be able to match you with a donor.”

As Sam and his wife took in this difficult news, they were beside themselves. Not too long before they had lost their beloved son and now Sam’s own health was severely at risk. All that Sam’s wife could think of doing was opening a Sefer Tehillim and begin reciting chapter after chapter. Tears flowed from her eyes and streamed down her cheeks day after day as her heart poured out in prayer.

Sooner than later, Sam’s wife felt it necessary to seek the advice of the rabbi of the community. After relaying to him the details and sequence of events, the rabbi replied, “Just continue praying and I will do my best to help your family in their plight.” The rabbi’s words somewhat comforted Sam’s wife and allayed her worries, and with that, she returned home.

That very day she spoke to the rabbi, she finished Tehillim three times. Her daily routine was to do no less than recite Tehillim for hours on end. After around three months, Sam and his wife received a call from the hospital. “Please come in immediately; we’ve found a donor.”

Fortunately, the surgery was successful. Sam began his recovery process and was able to regain his strength. Six months following the surgery, he began working again and reverting to his old, previous routine he had been used to.

One day, he showed up at his wife’s office and called her down. “Please, I need to speak to you,” he urged. This unexpected visit came as a surprise to Sam’s wife and, understandably so, got her nervous. “Is everything alright?” she anxiously asked. “Yes, I just have something I need to tell you.” Sam’s wife settled herself in a seat, feeling quite impatient. “When I was ill with kidney failure, I began thinking about my life and contemplating everything that had occurred to me. One thing that really bothered me was how I treated my friend Max. I don’t feel it was right how I reacted. He didn’t do it on purpose and meant no harm. It was an honest, albeit terrible, mistake. My mind kept on returning to that incident, but I continued to mentally push it off. But then, just the other day, I decided that I would call a mutual friend of ours and see how Max is doing.

“I started talking to our friend and caught up with him a bit. But then I changed the flow of topic and started discussing Max. ‘How is Max doing?’ I asked. ‘Oh, Max is recuperating,’ he replied. ‘Recuperating? What happened?’ ‘He donated his kidney to somebody,’ my friend replied. As soon as I heard this, I nearly dropped the phone.

“I don’t know what to say,” Sam reiterated to his wife. “I don’t know how this happened. I do have a strong feeling though that it was Max who in fact donated his kidney to me.” Sam’s wife was just as shocked to hear of this as her husband was, though she began putting two and two together. “I think I know who may be able to help us. Let’s go to the rabbi.”

Rushing over to the rabbi’s house, they enter inside looking haggard and overwhelmed like never before. It didn’t take long for the rabbi to realize that something was amiss. “I think something happened here with my husband’s kidney and you were involved,” Sam’s wife said. “Yes,” the rabbi began, a serious yet soothing tone underlying his voice.

“When you both moved into this neighborhood, your friend Max came to see me and told me everything that had happened and how he felt immeasurably terrible. He truly wished to make it up, though he didn’t know what he could do. At the time, I didn’t feel he was ready or in position to make any major move at rectifying the past. But then, months later, you came in here and mentioned that your husband was in need of a kidney and was looking for a compatible donor or else he likely wouldn’t make it past three months. I then realized that it was now or never.

Without delay, I picked up the phone and called Max. After relaying to him all the details of your situation, he paused for a moment and said, “I am a match.” I found it hard to believe. “Really?” I said, “it is an extremely rare blood type.” “Rabbi,” he repeated, “I know I am a match. When Sam and I were younger, we took a CPR course together where both of us needed to give blood, and it was there that I discovered we have the same odd type of blood.” The rabbi was surprised to learn of this information. “To be honest, if I tell him that you are the donor, I don’t know if he will want to accept it. Instead then, let us go through a different organization and keep your name anonymous, thereby avoiding this.’ Max went on to contact a particular organization and donate his kidney to you anonymously. But now that you have come here and figured out on your own that he is the donor, I feel fine with filling you in with all the details of the story.”

The husband and wife were completely beside themselves. “Do you think you can arrange a meeting between us?” Sam and his wife asked the rabbi. Sure enough, a meeting was arranged, and Max and Sam and their wives planned on meeting each other the next day at one of the local hotel lobbies.

As soon as the husbands made eye contact and their faces locked in with each other, they could no longer hold themselves back. Their embrace engendered streams of tears, as their wives followed suit in hugging one another and reconnecting.

Both Max and Sam continued apologizing to each other for the hurt and pain they had caused one another, and before long, a long-lost friendship was regained and rekindled.

A short while later, as the two of them spoke one day, Sam turned to Max and said, “You know, I would have donated my kidney to you anyway, regardless of anything that happened in the past. You are like a brother to me.”

At times in life, we feel justified in bearing a grudge against another and maintaining frustration and dissatisfaction at how we were treated. The attitude of, “If I do not see the good between us now, and I never want anything to do with you,” overtakes us. Days, months or perhaps years can go by in the persistence of this feeling. But we would be much wiser and happier to realize that in the process of doing so, we often are pushing away the people we love the most and perhaps need the most. Because, just maybe, they will come around one day to help us in ways that are nothing short of saving our life…

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