Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Meet Your Destiny

March 28th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Our offices and store will be closed from sunset Sunday night 3/31 Pacific Time through an hour after sunset Tuesday night 4/2 in obedience to God’s command to not work on the festival days of Passover.

We appreciate your patience.
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Please remember that emails purporting to be from me offering goods, services, or deals other than on the ancient Jewish wisdom resources that we publish are nothing but illegal spam and should be deleted.
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Our family and millions of people around the world are in the midst of the Passover holyday, recalling Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Amazingly, one incident came close to jeopardizing the whole enterprise.

Just before Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh, God threatens Moses for neglecting to circumcise his son.  Had Moses’ wife, Tziporah, not intervened, God would have terminated Moses’ career.  (Exodus 4:24-26) What is going on?

We get a clue from the language used in and around this event:

…the Lord met him (Moses)
(Exodus 4:24)

… (Aaron) go into the desert to meet Moses…
(Exodus 4:27)

While there are a number of Hebrew words throughout the Bible that translate in English as, “meet,” the specific root word used here is P-G-SH. One of the tools for understanding Scripture is to note when a Hebrew word is rarely used. In those cases, we should look for similarities in the unusual appearances. P-G-SH appears only four times in the Five Books of Moses.  We see it twice in our instance in Exodus and twice while Jacob is on his way to meet his brother Esau.

…when Esau my brother meets you…
(Genesis 32:18)

…what did you intend by that whole camp that I met
(Genesis 33:8)

Thus the word P-G-SH (meet) appears in only two stories in the Torah, both of which involve a man (Jacob/Moses) on a mission, traveling with his entire family, leaving his father-in-law (Lavan/Yitro).  In the midst of the journey, each man encounters a Divine being who presents a mortal threat. (In Jacob’s case, he meets the angel with whom he wrestles, Genesis 32:25-33)

Ancient Jewish wisdom tells us that Jacob did not leave Lavan’s house as promptly as he should have, to some degree from fear at confronting the terrifying Esau.  Similarly, Moses, on his way to confront a frightening Pharaoh, made an unnecessary stop at a hotel. (Exodus 4:24) Even though God had promised His protection, both men delayed approaching their destiny partially out of fear of a scary personality.  In each case, they end up in a life-threatening situation. The lesson to us is clear: Despite our fears, avoiding our life purpose and destiny is more dangerous than meeting it head on.

You or I may not be on the level of Jacob or Moses. God may speak to us more subtly and our missions may be on a smaller scale. Yet each and every one of us has a purpose in life, the reason for which God put us on this earth. Invariably, we face formidable challenges on our road to accomplishment. Intimidating people often stand in our way, telling us we are foolish for following our path or even threatening us if we continue to move forward.  The instances with Jacob and Moses remind us that when we have a mission to do, we should unhesitatingly race past all obstacles to do it. Like all else in Scripture, the details of the stories and the specific words used serve as blueprints for enhancing our lives, encouraging us to courageously meet our own destinies.

We strive to transmit these and dozens of other powerful and effective principles for improving your life in our audio CDs, DVD and books. Our goal is to provide access to ancient Jewish wisdom to enrich your faith, family and fortune. During this Passover week, we are offering both our Complete Library Pack and our Complete Library Pack Plus for an additional 10% off the already deeply discounted prices.  Now, as we end the first quarter of 2013, is a really good time to equip yourself and those you love with this priceless wisdom.

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Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here

Why are we all made so uneven? Some are born into affluence and some into poverty. Some are born into health some into misery. Some are born in America, with all its advantages, some into primitive tribes.

Well you get the idea. Some people believe this unevenness can be blamed on some evil thing the infant does. This doesn’t seem right to me. Some believe this can be blamed on what some ancestor did. This doesn’t seem right either. How can all this be the result of a benevolent and omnipotent Creator?

William D.

Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE

This week’s Susan’s Musings: Lark Rise

Over the past few months, I’ve been watching a BBC series called Lark Rise to Candleford.  I admit to being a sucker for the British accents, the clothing and the setting, a pastoral part of northern England in pre-World War I days.

Two of the recurring characters are cousins; women who made different life choices. One, the postmistress, is an outspoken spinster…READ MORE

Lark Rise

March 27th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 2 comments

Over the past few months, I’ve been watching a BBC series
called Lark Rise to Candleford.  I admit to being a sucker for the British
accents, the clothing and the setting, a pastoral part of northern England in
pre-World War I days.  Two of the
recurring characters are cousins; women who made different life choices. One,
the postmistress, is an outspoken spinster who holds a prominent and important
position for a woman of the time. Her cousin, equally outspoken, is a wife and
mother, with severe financial worries and no elegant dresses, but a loving
husband and family. One theme that repeats frequently is how each envies
aspects of the other’s life, while also relishing some of the perks of her own.

It is easy to smile condescendingly at the limited choices
of that historical period. But, while times have changed, the reality that we
can’t do and have everything, has not. (The popular and up-to-date show Parenthood, featured the angst of both a
high-powered attorney mom and her stay at home sister-in-law.) Increasing
numbers of college students are extending their years at school rather than
choosing a field and finishing their requirements. Certainly, a poor job market
gives little incentive to rush into the work world, but I think there is more
at play here. Earning a decent salary in a respectable position used to be a
main goal for college graduates. That no longer seems to be enough. We want
ever so much more. We expect fulfilling work in a field for which we have a
passion, high wages and good benefits so that we can live more than comfortably,
and work hours that recognize the importance of our personal lives. Nice job if
you can get it. It is no wonder that committing to a field of study is
difficult.

BBC shows need to attract viewers. One way they do so is by
cloaking the vital issues of our lives –among them the desire for love and
family and the wish for meaningful work and public recognition of that work –in
non-threatening historical milieus. If you read the true book on which the
series was based, life was harsh for both the postmistress and the mother. I
doubt that any of us would want to trade places with either of them. Above all,
shows like this serve as a reminder of how blessed is the world in which we
live, even if we still cannot fulfill all of our conflicting desires.

Yes, Boss!

March 19th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Our office and store will be closed from sunset Monday night 3/25 Pacific Time through an hour after sunset Wednesday night 3/27 in obedience to God’s command to not work on the festival days of Passover.  We appreciate your patience.
Please look for your Thought Tool one day later than usual.
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Please be aware that someone is sending emails, pretending to be from me,  trying to sell disreputable products and services.  We do not allow our email list to be used for anything but the ancient Jewish wisdom and Biblical resources that we ourselves publish.  Any email offering you anything else is spam and not from us.  We are now blessed with aggressive, competent legal and technical support that is working on identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators. Meanwhile, please delete any emails claiming to be from me or Thought Tools that promote non-Biblical products or services that are not found on our web store at https://www.rabbidaniellapin.com/store.php This has been an immensely aggravating episode for us and if you have received any of these illegal emails, I am truly sorry for the inconvenience you’ve endured.

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A friend’s new assistant didn’t arrive at the office until 11am and began packing up to leave at 2pm!  “Didn’t we agree you’d work all day today?” he asked.  “Yes,” she replied,  “but I have to think of me.”  She seemed surprised to be fired.  This wasn’t the first story of its kind that I’d heard.  Why are so many people clueless about a job?

We have all become so obsessed with freedom, rights, and choice that we’ve forgotten how much of our success and happiness is owed to restraint, duties, and rules.  Learning to place ourselves under authority is one message of Passover. Today’s educational system largely fails to teach this important skill so necessary for obtaining and keeping a job.  By contrast, the military does a splendid job teaching that the only way to get to give orders is to learn first to accept them.  The road to promotion leads through obedience.

Many mistakenly believe that Passover celebrates liberation.  But Moses never told Pharaoh, “Let my people go.”  God’s message really was, “Let my people go so that they may worship me in the desert.”  God did not free the Jews from being servants; he just freed them from being servants to Egypt.  Henceforth they were to be servants to Him.

Being enslaved by a man or a government makes less of us.  However choosing to be a servant of God transforms us into free and independent champions. Passover celebrates accepting God’s rules rather than rejecting the idea of having a boss.

Passover is an annual inoculation against a false idea. We could think that people would thrive if left to their own devices, without any external system of rules. Like the small child who yells, “You’re not the boss of me,” too many adults think that freedom means indulging every personal desire.

Being enslaved by Pharaoh served a vital function.  It taught the embryonic Jewish people how to take orders.  Thus, Passover celebrates the years of Jewish slavery as much as it does the exodus from Egypt. While the Egyptians were certainly responsible for their cruel behavior, Jews from then on recognize that the experience was a valuable one. The slavery had a purpose, teaching that all people are enslaved.  One’s only choice is whether to be enslaved to God’s rules or to a variety of bizarre human ideologies.

On this Monday night, we’ll celebrate the Passover Seder.  We will pore over a lengthy and detailed account of the Exodus, taste tear inducing bitter herbs with matzoh and solemnly drink four cups of wine to commemorate both slavery and redemption.

Paradoxically, true independence comes not through the abolition of all rules but through the acceptance of Divine rules.  Moses did urge Pharaoh to let the people go.  Not to free them from all authority, but to allow them to serve the One Authentic Authority.  This way, by bringing rules and structure into their lives they would gain real freedoms and choices.  What marvelous training for a job as well as for all of life itself.

This idea, like so many other valuable ones, flows directly from Hebrew. Our book, Buried Treasure: Secrets for Living from the Lord’s Language, explores more than twenty-five words that hold wisdom for your life, even if you can’t read one letter of Hebrew. Get it on sale right now. You’ll be amazed at what a difference a word can make.

Also available on Kindle and Nook!

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Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here

Dear Rabbi,

Why is Wisdom referred to as female in gender in the book of Proverbs?

Yolanda

Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE

This week’s Susan’s Musings: Cleaning and Loving It

I have a friend who gets little pleasure from cooking. It is a reality of life for her rather than a tactile, sensual experience. That is, unless she is cooking for the Sabbath. When she does that, the activity is infused with meaning and importance and changes from an annoying necessity into a higher calling.

I feel somewhat the same about cleaning…READ MORE

Cleaning and Loving It

March 19th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 3 comments

I have a friend who gets little pleasure from cooking. It is
a reality of life for her rather than a tactile, sensual experience. That is,
unless she is cooking for the Sabbath. When she does that, the activity is
infused with meaning and importance and changes from an annoying necessity into
a higher calling.

I feel somewhat the same about cleaning. While I like having
a tidy and well-ordered house, I can’t say that I usually enjoy the process of
scrubbing and polishing. The exception is when I am cleaning in preparation for
Passover.

I really don’t have a way to explain Passover preparations
to anyone who has not been involved in them. Picture getting ready for
Thanksgiving except before you can start your cooking you need to get rid of
all the existing food you have in the house as well as put away all your dishes
and kitchen utensils, and bring in all “special for Thanksgiving” items that
are only used once a year. There are lists of ingredients and products that you
ordinarily rely on that can’t be used. Plus, the house needs to be cleaned from
top to bottom to ensure that no forbidden items are hiding away. That’s for
starters. Oh yes, and there will be eight days of eating rather than one, with
five of them requiring festive meals twice a day.

Passover is daunting. It is also my favorite holiday of the
year. And while we have occasionally spent the holiday at the home of friends
or family and sometimes even at a hotel, I only truly fully feel the holiday spirit
when we are home. On all the holidays, recipes and traditions connect me
strongly to my mother, grandmother and all the women in my family who preceded
them, but the connection is magnified with Passover.

My husband does not understand. His mantra over these weeks
is, “You really don’t have to do that,” meaning that we can have a kosher
Passover without my going over the light switches with a toothbrush and
toothpick. He does not have, as I do, the vision of my grandmother in her
eighties, wearing her one and only pair of jeans, purchased and used for only
one occasion in the entire year – getting down on the floor to scrub under the
cupboards before Passover. I can’t explain it myself. I only know that, in my
mind, while cleaning is usually a chore that interferes with “more important
things,” during the weeks preceding Passover it gives me a great thrill. Not
only am I cleaning for a higher purpose, but the activity itself has meaning.

And quite frankly, I am pretty uninterested in what the
rabbis (even my own beloved one) say as to what is unnecessary. My question to
them always is, “But, what did your mother do?” Invariably, the answer is that
they went way overboard. Passover belongs to the Jewish people, but Passover
cleaning belongs to Jewish women.

 Reprinted from March 26, 2009

Anger Ammunition

March 12th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

A Florida state senator has filed State Bill 1678, requiring anyone purchasing firearm ammunition to complete an online two-hour anger-management-training program.  Does she think that explosions of anger occur because people lack easily acquired information? Imagine! Temper tantrums that disrupt air travel, road rage incidents and violence in the work place could be avoided by equipping people with data that can fit into a rather short brochure.

Now I will confess that I am quite incapable of conceiving what material could be found in ten bullet points that would calm furious air travelers and stabilize emotionally fragile individuals.

In about six paragraphs, I could provide you with the information you need to extract more battery life from your mobile phone. I can give you the data necessary in order to navigate a small boat safely from the West Coast to Hawaii. It will take longer than two hours, but we could do it.  However, try as I might, I cannot imagine what online information will stop people from losing their tempers.  We don’t explode in angry outbursts because we lack data. We are yielding to our lower selves and are manifesting, as well as encouraging, character weakness.

Please note that I didn’t say that feeling anger is a character weakness—I said that acting upon that anger is.

Ancient Jewish wisdom critiques Moses’ anger on three occasions:

…and he was angry with Elazar and Itamar, the sons of Aaron…
(Leviticus 10:16)

And Moses was angry with the army officers…
(Numbers 31:14)

…and Moses said to them, Why do you strive with me?…
(Exodus 17:2)

Yet there were other occasions when Moses was not criticized for anger:

And Moses was very angry…
(Numbers 16:15)

…and Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets…
(Exodus 32:19)

…and Moses was angry with them…
(Exodus 16:20)

What is the difference between these instances? In God’s blueprint for humanity, the problem is not that we experience anger.  The problem is that we err, often with terrible consequences, when we act inappropriately in response to that anger.

It is worth noting that the Torah contains 365 negative commandments.  That is to say that we are told not to do close to four hundred actions.  Not even once are we prohibited from feeling anger.  We are not even prohibited from displaying anger, especially as a carefully modulated communication for educational purposes. However, out-of-control emotional outbursts are poisonous. Acting in the grip of anger is seen as tantamount to idol worship.

It makes such sense that God doesn’t prohibit us from feeling anger.  After all, sometimes good and proper conduct is fueled by righteous indignation.  Sometimes anger at an injustice propels a necessary action.  However, we are repeatedly warned that anger has the capacity to stimulate improper response.

We can train ourselves so that stimuli that at one time would have made us furious become a minor annoyance instead. We can even train ourselves to respond appropriately to a red haze of furious feeling. Controlling ourselves and avoiding acting inappropriately is a function of maturity and character strength, not of accessing information.

How do we achieve emotional maturity and self-control? That cannot take place through an online course, nor can it be accomplished in two hours. It takes constant practice and continual picking ourselves up after failure.

You see, every small triumph over childish indulgence strengthens character and makes the next challenge easier to overcome.  Every failure sets one back and tempts us to give up.  One of life’s greatest adventures is self-improvement.  God gives us numerous opportunities each day, such as foolish politicians saying and doing silly things, to practice reacting appropriately (or perhaps not at all) to frustrating, annoying situations that seem designed to make us angry.  Viewing these circumstances as self-improvement opportunities is the key.

Susan and I strive to provide entertaining guidance for character growth on our Ancient Jewish Wisdom television show. We’ve put four of our favorite shows on DVD (on sale this week). I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that two hours with Ancient Jewish Wisdom will be a more valuable investment towards character development than Florida’s proposed on-line course. Watch it and tell me what you think!

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Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here

Why do you use incorrect grammar in the title of your book “Thou Shall Prosper,” instead of “Thou Shalt Prosper”? Anyone familiar with the King James Bible would know the proper verb forms for the second person singular pronoun.

John S.

Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE

This week’s Susan’s Musings: Delete

There comes a time in the life of email users when the inbox is too full. I reach that point regularly. Often, a half hour of surface tidying relieves enough of the bloated file to continue working. Sometimes, such as this week, that isn’t enough.

This time, I made the painful, and perhaps callous, decision…READ MORE

Delete

March 12th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 3 comments

There comes a time in the life of email users when the inbox
is too full. I reach that point regularly. Often, a half hour of surface
tidying relieves enough of the bloated file to continue working. Sometimes,
such as this week, that isn’t enough.

This time, I made the painful, and perhaps callous, decision
to delete not only the easy-to-get-rid-of outdated notices and previously
overlooked junk mail from my business account, but also to banish the personal
notes to which I had hoped to respond. Some of them are particularly gracious
comments about our Ancient Jewish Wisdom TV show, our books and CDs or my
Musings. I do appreciate hearing from people and love to write a quick remark
back. Other letters ask for advice or pose a question. A few of them are
clearly from people in pain. When I am on top of my game, I jot a quick reply
or ask my assistant to do so—if only to suggest resending the question to the
‘Ask the Rabbi’ column or to let the person know she is in our prayers.

However, too often, the emails pile up and by the time I get
to them, a year or more has passed. They may have simply come at the wrong
time, during a frantic week of travel or when a new grandchild appeared
demanding attention. Sometimes, they are simply overlooked, sandwiched between
articles I should read or reminders of tasks that need doing.

We are in the weeks leading to Passover and I am thrilled
that many of our children and grandchildren will be coming home to celebrate
with us. However, it also means hours of work. I don’t mean to offend, but the
Thanksgiving issue of women’s and cooking magazines that feature people
agonizing over one large meal serve as a source of comic relief to Jewish women
who regularly make Sabbath and holiday meals.
(See Fifty
Pounds of Potatoes
for a picture of our Passover three years ago.)

So, I am hitting the delete button on emails past and giving
notice that for the next few weeks my family obligations are taking center
stage.  I am practicing what I preach.
While I love working on producing our books and audio CDs, taping our Ancient
Jewish Wisdom TV show and staying in touch with you, God and family come first.
It is my joy and privilege as Passover nears, to emphasize that. 

Soul Piercing

March 5th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

The US Coastguard 7th District, covering Florida, periodically reports on ritualistic suspensions. Apparently, some people spend their weekends suspended from meat hooks carefully inserted into different parts of their bodies. They dangle from a large tripod apparatus erected on sandbars in Biscayne Bay.

Many Moslems bloodily celebrate Ashura, the anniversary of the death of Mohammad’s grandson, by cutting their heads and bodies with sharp knives.  Most major American hospitals are familiar with the adolescent practice of cutting, and treat large numbers of young patients who have cut their flesh with no suicidal intent.

Finally, most coffee shop patrons have seen enough grotesque body piercings to outfit all but the choosiest anthropological museums.  And that is my point. All I have described imitates and celebrates the primitive.  From the early Mississippi Valley Indians who practiced similar meat hook suspension to the Aztecs with their more bizarre piercings, to African and New Guinea tribesmen with their own versions of flesh-stretching adornment, mutilating one’s body in one way or another clearly holds a strongly-felt attraction for many.

I can’t say that I viscerally understand this, but I do recognize that the desire exists and is real.  It lays dormant in certain periods and places, but repeatedly raises its head. Were this not the case, God’s Message to Mankind would hardly bother to prohibit it. Verses that might have seemed odd to our grandparents resonate with us.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead…
(Leviticus 19:28)

They shall not make…any gashes in their flesh.
(Leviticus 21:5)

You are the children of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves…
(Deuteronomy 14:1)

Clearly, God recognizes how strong the allure for the tribal and the primitive is.

The final reference distinguishes itself from the earlier two Leviticus references in applying to everyone, not just to the priests.  Furthermore, it employs a special word for cutting GoDeD which possesses a secondary meaning—separation.

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that when harmony exists between our bodies and our souls, we enjoy spiritual tranquility and with spiritual tranquility can come closeness to God.

Mutilating our bodies in gruesome acts of self-flagellation is one of the clearest symptoms of a vast canyon of separation between soul and body.  It’s almost as if we’re exulting in our soul’s ability to force us to hurt our bodies.  God certainly doesn’t want us to mutilate the bodies He entrusted to us.

Sometimes an entire culture can become diseased.  In trying to run our businesses and in trying to help raise our families in accordance with God’s Biblical blueprint, it helps to recognize the spiritual roots of some of the cultural forces out there.

I’m not saying that people with conspicuously pierced lips, noses, or other body parts are bad people.  I am saying, however, that in many instances, the painful piercings are an attempt by spiritually alienated young people to place a physical bandage upon a spiritual wound, or they are an indicator of a spiritually alienated society.

A gulf of separation between body and soul is the default condition for primitive humanity and self-mutilation is one of its symptoms.  The Bible, as God’s guide to civilization teaches us to escape primitivism, and become unified children of God with both bodies and souls worshipping our Father in Heaven.

One brilliant facet of the Jewish calendar is the exquisite dance it choreographs for our bodies and souls. Our audio CD, Day for Atonement: Heavenly Gift of Spiritual Serenity provides deeper insights on how to stay in healthy touch with our spiritual selves. Doing so keeps both vital parts of our lives functioning smoothly. Creating wealth, being married and raising a family are only three of the areas of our lives that need soul and body cooperation. Day for Atonement focuses on this idea and is our highlighted resource this week, available on sale by mail or as an instant download.Our stock of Chana Levitan’s book, I Only Want to Get Married Once sold out but we are thrilled to have acquired one more shipment of this valuable resource. Order now and we will get it on its way to you in the next few days. ________________________________________________

Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here

Hello Rabbi-
I am a conservative Presbyterian with strong feelings of loyalty to Israel. Many Sundays, my Sunday school class ends with the Director of Christian Ed mentioning how horrible the Israelis are to the Palestinians. I know that each side is not without sin, but I’d like to speak of this conflict better equipped with the facts. Can you suggest a book (or any educational material) to help me learn about both sides of the conflict?

Thank you.

Jenny R.

Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE

This week’s Susan’s Musings: Travel Gratitude

Almost every day in our lives provides opportunity for both joy and pain. One complexity of the human experience is that while we are easily aware of the pain, we often need to pay attention in order to find the joy.

I am on a plane as I write this (Feb. 18, 2013), on a trip that combines both elements. One part of this multi-legged voyage will provide the thrill of meeting a sweet new granddaughter (here’s a photo with her siblings)…READ MORE

Travel Gratitude

March 5th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 7 comments

 

Thank you! I was remiss in not thanking those of you who regularly comment on my Musings, but I also have to tell you how much I appreciated all your comments last week. Doesn’t it raise your spirits to know how many people either share your views or are able to rationally and politiely discuss areas of disagreement?

Almost every day in our lives provides opportunity for both
joy and pain. One complexity of the human experience is that while we are
easily aware of the pain, we often need to pay attention in order to find the
joy.

I am on a plane as I write this (Feb. 18, 2013), on a trip
that combines both elements. One part of this multi-legged voyage will provide
the thrill of meeting a sweet new granddaughter (here’s a photo with her
siblings).


Siblings, for Musing

I will also have the opportunity to celebrate the joyous
holiday of Purim with quite a few of our children and grandchildren. I am
looking forward to a cousin’s wedding and the chance to celebrate with family
not seen often enough. Part of the trip was business-based and I was able to be
present when my husband spoke at a wonderful church in North Carolina where we
made lovely new friends.

On a less happy note, the trip includes a shiva
visit to my father, whose elder sister passed away last week as well as the difficulty
of recognizing his deteriorating physical conditions.  At times, my emotions tumble over each other,
making equilibrium an elusive phantom.

This is why I want to record the small blessings present in
today’s travel. My husband and I travel a great deal these days and, like anyone
who does so, we know that the days of elegant air voyages are long past. Yet,
within my solo travel, I found one blessing granted to me after another. For
starters, a kind friend in Charlotte, N.C. provided us with a car and driver so
that we didn’t need to navigate strange roads on our own. (The word ‘driver’
doesn’t convey the fascinating man who made sure we were comfortably taken to
wherever we needed to be.) When we arrived at the airport, despite my pleas
that my husband return to the hotel and start on his ever-growing task list, he
walked me in and dealt with check-in. Then we were off to what is usually the
most irritating part of travel these days – the dreaded security line. (If I
thought it actually kept us safe, my feelings about it would be quite different.)

The line snaked beyond the limits of the area to which it
was allocated. While I didn’t fear missing my flight, I did inwardly groan at
the anticipated wasted time, shuffling forward a few inches every few minutes.
At this point, my husband, who was still refusing my entreaties to be off,
excused himself and wandered away. Minutes later, he came back, motioning me to
follow him to the premium, and completely empty, security lane. Now, I was not
traveling first-class nor did I see any reason that I should be in the premium
lane, but lo and behold, by paying an extra few dollars I was now a preferred
person. This was definitely a case of being pound wise rather than penny
foolish. I sailed through so quickly that I wasn’t ready for my turn to place my
belongings on the conveyer belt. While I was cringing at delaying the people
behind me as I removed my computer from its case and took off my coat and
shoes, the next blessing appeared. Instead of the sometimes officious agents
who promote the TSA’s bad reputation, a lovely agent said, “Sweetie, you take
your time,” while she helped me juggle my things.

The next gift came in the form of a recalibrating security
machine that allowed three travelers, of which I was one, to go through the
less intrusive security portal. Since I distrust the newer machines, I was
elated at this turn of events. The trip continued with my preferred aisle seat,
a timely arrival for my luggage and me and, best of all, a pick-up by my
daughter from the airport along with food and drink she had prepared for me.

The kind behavior and competency I encountered on my trip
doesn’t make headlines. I wrote this piece for myself, so that while dealing
with the difficult and unpleasant, I remember to appreciate the good.