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to delete not only the easy-to-get-rid-of outdated notices and previously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. 

3 thoughts on “Delete”

  1. Thank you, Susan, for all you do, including reminding me of the importance of priorities. May your holiday be blessed.

  2. First to the Rabbi’s piece on anger: anger as a knee-jerk reaction can be harmful. Perhaps readers will recall my piece in this column about a motorist ascending the mountain road. A car rushes past him and its driver screams ‘PIG!’ The motorist feels insulted and gets angry. Then just up ahead he sees a large pig standing in the center of the roadway. He is both horrified and ashamed, for the perceived insult was intended to warn him. The anecdote does not tell whether the motorist wrecks or leaves the mountain road, but I suppose the driver survived to tell the story of anger and its consequences. Scripture advises: be slow to anger.
    As for Susan’s piece, I certainly hope it was not one of my Ancient Jewish Wisdom questions that got deleted, but she has more courage than I. The courage of which I speak is the courage to exclude. It is funny how as we age, our lives become progressively more complicated as our effective universe shrinks and our capacities decline. Especially if we are sick, we simply just cannot do everything that we could when we were thirty.
    There is an anecdote of a woman who died, and her husband wrote a sad epitaph for her, that she died of things. Our things can enrich us, they can aid us and enhance our lives. But they can also restrict, limit and control us. At some point a choice of paths must be made: to choose the rich life of what matters, or to be fettered and enslaved by things. Our things, projects or hoardings can become false gods that kill us.

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