Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Shabbat Bell

I just returned from a wonderful Shabbos in Jerusalem. The people were incredible, the discussion was interesting and the food was delicious. An interesting thing happened this Shabbos that demonstrated a common theme in life.

As I walked into the family's house I was eating by for lunch I noticed a little ding in the background. Every few seconds a ding would flow out of the kitchen. The stove bell must have broke in the middle of Shabbos and there was no way to shut it off without breaking Shabbos. The ding could be heard as we ate our meal but it did not intrude on our meal, at least overtly.

After the meal a few of us were conversing on the couches and one of the guys said, "Wow, that ding is really annoying!" This young man's comment is really an insight into human psychology. I recently read a great piece by Rabbi Pliskin on this topic in "Gateway To Happiness."
A popular observation states, "Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything takes longer than you expect. And if anything can go wrong, it will, at the worst possible moment." When you are mentally prepared for events (without being nervous or anxious), you will find them much easier to cope with. If you always expect things to work out the way you wish, ask yourself what is the basis for your expectations. When you realize there is no basis for your expectations you will find it easier to give them up.

What this young man did not realize is that most things do not go according to plan. He was annoyed with the sound because he expected that everything would go according to his plan. The world does not work this way and the more we realize this the happier we will be.


At 9/25/2005 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could certainly understand that this constant sound would be annoying to some people. I would have to tune it out and make a conscience effort to do so. I would not want to offend my Shabbas hosts. To other people, this constant noise may not be annoying, either because they are trying to ignore it or maybe they have a hearing problem and simply do not hear it. (some people could tune out annoying sound, such as an alarm clocks constant rattle)!
I cannot blame the guy for finding the constant noise annoying. I like quiet.This would bother me too if I was close to where the noise was coming from.

Recently, our house alarm went off and would not stop. It was hours before it could be fixed. It was annoying and very hard to ignore. It gets on your nerves. Kind of like a crying baby that does not stop crying.

I really see nothing really wrong with the guy finding this annoying and voicing his opinion which I'm sure many of the people there agreed with! All right, so deal with it. But it seems to me that the whole message from the Rabbi is meant for far more serious events in life rather that a little kitchen timer that was broken. The real message is that is was Shabbas and COULD NOT be turned off. If it was not Shabbas, it would have been turned off in one-second! No one wants to listen to this!

At 9/26/2005 6:14 PM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

I was on a plane and Baby was crying throughout the flight, it irritated me but not because it wasn't on my plan rather because it's irritating!

At 9/26/2005 8:10 PM, Blogger Jew Speak said...

Pragmatician & Anon,

This is exactly my point. These things happen throughout our life. It is entirely up to us as to how we want to react. At the moment something annoying starts happening we have two things we can say to ourselves. We can either start saying something negative or positive about the situation. For example, if our baby was choking (G-d forbid!) and we were able to get the food out of his throat and he then started crying, that very same cry would be a relief! Many situations in life are like this. We choose what we want to tell ourselves.

I am going to attempt prophecy for a moment...
In your life you will have an annoying event happen at least once a week if not every day. Right now we know this will happen so the more prepared we are for it the easier our life will be. Try it out... prepare yourself for an event that annoys you and imagine yourself reacting calmly.


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