Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Adar 5761 - March 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
A Glance at Perfection

by Leah Subar

Using a day-at-a-glance diary helps me remember which appointments I have today, which chug my child has tomorrow, and which bill was to be paid last week.

However, when purchasing a diary, not just any diary will suffice. My diary must have a beautiful cover, or pictures inside that inspire me.

My diary from last year was perfect. Deep, rich colors, abstract shapes, and a charming cockatoo adorned the cover. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the right one.

Using that diary was a pleasure because I enjoyed looking at it each morning. I filled the pages with schedules and lists, day by day, week by week until soon, January was approaching. It was almost time to pick up another diary.

I returned to the same store, full of savvy. I walked down the aisle like I owned the place.

After looking through the selection, however, I was disappointed. I saw a diary with colorful pictures of flowers. But I don't like pictures of flowers.

A different diary had striking black and white photographs of newborn babies. But I already had lots of those in the family album.

None of these diaries are for me, I said.

That's okay, I thought, as I walked out. I know that my diary is somewhere and as long as I exert the proper effort, the Creator will graciously put it in my lap.

Besides, it's only November.

The weeks passed and soon it was just a few days before my old diary ran out. Oh boy, now it's getting close.

I tried a stationery store near my home but nothing hit the spot.

I'll hold out, I told myself. The perfect one is on its way.

I held out -- and held out, until I found myself in the middle of February and no diary. The pressure to find one grew as I was forgetting appointments and deadlines. Tiny notes on odd pieces of paper began accumulating throughout the house.

"Hmm, what's this?" I'd wonder, gazing at a small scrap with the words: Tuesday, 1:30.

I've got to find my diary today, I said. I can't go another week without it!

But I knew that wasn't the right attitude. We can't force these things. They come on their own, quietly, gently, if we only let them.

I had to approach this challenge the way I used to approach poetry which I didn't understand. I'd be trying too hard, forcing myself to read with the right cadence, concentrating on every word and phrase so that it all became a bunch of disconnected babble.

But when I'd relax a bit, and I'd read the words the way one hums a tune to himself, freely, unencumbered by expectations, then the poetry entered simply.

So, I thought, that's how I will find my diary.

And there it was! There was my diary, sitting on the shelf at the bookstore. Though at first I wasn't sure.

The cover had a photograph of a peach colored bowl made from glass with small peach colored balls inside. But the caption underneath read: "Chrysanthemum Basket Set with Carbon Lip Wraps." I didn't see any flowers in that bowl and why do they call it a basket? And what in the world is a carbon lip?

Calm down, I told myself. Be open to the possibilities.

I flipped through the pages and found many more bowls and multi-colored cylinders. Some were modern looking, some looked oriental. Lips, I soon learned, referred to the edges of the bowls. I saw green lips and brazen yellow lips as well as cobalt blue and violet lips.

I didn't like this book.

That's when I made my decision: Leah, I said, you need a diary. This is a diary. Therefore, you will buy this diary, with all its imperfections and lips. No, these vessels are not perfect. And every day when you look inside your diary to see what is scheduled, you will remember that life too, is not perfect. The people around you are not perfect. You are not perfect.

And that's perfect.

I was overjoyed. I took my diary to the checkout counter.

"Is this a gift?" the saleswoman asked. I saw the pretty wrapping paper to the side and nodded the affirmative. She even placed a sweet yellow bow on top.

I walked out satisfied. I felt whole and complete. And the best part of all was that since it was already February, my perfect new diary was 25% off.

[And, by the way, some 'lip' from the editor: there is a lovely exhibit of glassware by Chihuly at the Tower of David, ranging from small glass bubbles to huge Martian glass landscapes. Lots of lips. An interesting place to visit on Chol Hamoed, though expensive.]


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.