Patience

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

There is a wonderful blog I’ve recently discovered (just when I thought I couldn’t read one more thing every day!). Check it out: thewisdomdaily.com. I have struggled with the parasha of Ki Tisa and felt bad for poor Aaron being blamed yet wondered why he more or less gave in to the Israelites to build the Golden Calf. There are numerous commentaries on this and each year we learn a little more or at least find something that resonates with us. The title this week in thewisdomdaily is: Patience When It Seems No One Is in Charge. Rabbi Julia Appel shares the story of when the people were waiting for Moses, yet the Torah text doesn’t explain much about the impatience they were feeling. She goes on:

I have compassion for their confusion and fear — someone was supposed to be here to tell us what to do! We’re not sure what we’re supposed to do next! I feel it myself when I’m overwhelmed by forces outside my control. To be honest, I feel this way sometimes as I read the news, both about the Israel-Hamas war itself and about what’s happening here in North America.

We are living in challenging times and it is hard not to be impatient and more, to want someone in control. Yet we are in control of so much! So now I will add another comment from the same blog, different author. Sarah Pachter shares this joke:

In his book, “I’m Not the Boss I Just Work Here,” Howard Jonas shares a joke. Two construction workers, Max and Sam, met daily during their break from their arduous labor. They opened up their lunches and Max took out a delicious hero sandwich with thick, crispy bread and mouth-watering sauce. Sam caught sight of his friend’s meal while opening his own lunch and stared at his bland sandwich, on whole wheat no less. “Ugh, I hate peanut butter and jelly. I wish I had a hero like yours!” he complained. The next two days, Max brought various gourmet meals, while Sam popped open the same PBJ sandwich. “Again?” he muttered, thoroughly agitated. Max looked at Sam and said, “If you don’t like your lunch, why don’t you ask your wife to make you something different?” Sam responded, “My wife doesn’t make my lunch. I do!”

We can complain as the Israelites did and they truly wanted the Golden Calf to solve their worries. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. We have to find our own strength as we wait. We need to figure out what we can control and what is beyond us. That doesn’t mean not working toward a solution and supporting the work to make the world a better place. Patience is hard! Rabbi Appel ends her article this way: Sometimes the end of the story takes more time than we think we can bear. I don’t have a solution, but this year I empathize with the Israelites at the foot of the mountain.

Laura Seymour is Jewish experiential learning director and camp director emeritus at the Aaron Family JCC.

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