Rabbi Raymond Beyda
Becoming a happy person is easier said than done. Even one who understands
that he or she has so much more than others is struck with dissatisfaction
as soon as another appears with a new possession that the observer
lacks. "Sure, I do have a lot -- but I am also missing a lot of the things
that make people happy," is the thought that immediately crosses the hungry
mind. In Hobot Halebabot, Rabenu Bahye says: "One should always keep one's
eye on those who have fewer benefits in life, and not on those who have
The Gemara tells of the poverty of Rebbi Akiba and his new wife Rahel. When
they got married her millionaire father disowned her because he was unhappy
with her choice of Rebbi Akiba as a spouse. The couple accepted their lot.
They lived in a barn where they covered themselves with straw to keep warm
for lack of anything else to provide warmth. One day Eliyahu Hanabi came
disguised as a pauper and begged them for some straw with which to cover
his poverty stricken wife and newborn infant. Rahel gladly gave from her
limited supply of worldly comfort and said to Rebbi Akiba, "See, here is
one who does not even have the straw with which we are blessed."
Life is a matter of relatively. There will always be people who have more
than you do -- and there will always be others who have less than you. It's
all a matter of how you look at things.
Today when the pangs of dissatisfaction strike -- stop. It only takes a
minute to change your sights from looking at one who is wealthier than you
to one who has less. The ups and downs -- the laws of relativity -- will
determine your happiness quotient.
DID YOU KNOW THAT
If one ate an ounce of mezonot [cake], which requires a blessing of "Al
Hamihiyah" and also ate some fruit of the kinds that would require a
blessing of "Al Ha-es" -- but less than an ounce of that fruit-- the rule
is that the cutoff point is 20 grams. If the person ate 20 grams of the
fruit one adds "al haperot" to his or her blessing but if one ate less than
that -- one does not add "al haperot" to his or her blessing. [Source:
Yehave Daat, volume 6, responsa 14]
CONSIDER THIS FOR A MINUTE
How great is the trait of humility. The root of humility is that one should
distance oneself from honor like Moshe Rabenu who said "But what are we?"
[vínahnu mah?]. What is said about Moshe is greater than what is said about
the humility of Abraham. Abraham said: "But I am but dust and ashes" Dust
can be made into mud and then bricks with which to build -- ashes are the
remains of something that once was -- however Moshe said "I am nothing!!"
[Source: Sefer Haroke-ah, page 2]
Text Copyright © 2004 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.