Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Nissan 5765 - April 20, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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











Home and Family

by Sara Gutfreund

There is so much to clean, and the fluorescent green numbers on the oven fix me with an accusing stare. Why are you sitting like that? Move! Do! Accomplish!

But I am in a thinking mood. Languid, philosophical brooding that tends towards the useless side of things. So I stare at the small pile before me and ponder life's deepest questions.

An old crayon stub. The top of a lost sippy cup. A small nail that my husand insists he needs. For what? "You never know," he says. And then there is the pile of papers. School projects. Old bills. Shopping lists. Receipts, recipes, invitations. How can a person think with so much? So much . . . so much everything!

It's time to move back to basics, I decide. I dump the whole pile into the garbage. I begin to walk away, dreaming of a life as simple as it used to be. When? I don't know, but everyone says it used to be simpler. I try to imagine being in touch with nature. Discarding or giving away my extra clothes. Buying only necessities. Bread and salt.

Maybe I should try to make my own clothes. Then I remember that I don't even know how to sew. And that's when it hits me. I just threw out Moshe's Purim project, Shira's favorite, albeit broken, doll, Dovid's nail collection, and receipts I might need some day. I begin to unpack the garbage bag, item by item.

What do I need? What do I have? How do I use it? And how do I leave this constricting place of things? As I sort through the pile again, I seem to sink deeper into the material world. This is dirty. That should be replaced. This should be organized. I need to buy another one . . . etc. And I know I need to leave this narrow place of cleaning only the surfaces of my life.

I walk into water that opens up into a path. I journey through a parched desert that teaches me how to ask. How to cry. How to love . . . my family, my neighbors, my people . . .

He redeems me from the limits of my space and brings me into an expansive Land. He shows me what I have and how to use it. He hands me back my pile of useless things and teaches me how to see. How to think.

How to take the smallness of this world and make it holy.


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