Thursday, January 19, 2017

Mussar From My Dentist

My dentist is a nice guy. He is friendly and seems to really care. After he pulled a tooth some time back he called me repeatedly to find out how I was. Except for two people [my mother and someone else] I have never in my life met anyone who called out to find out how I was - certainly not multiple times. Life is busy, people are busy and once we get involved with other people's problems we "risk" having to get even more involved which might inconvenience us in a myriad of ways, so the nature of man is to worry about his and his family's needs and to try to make the best life for he and them [Note - The grammar on that sentence was almost definitely off]. Of course there are exceptions but in my experience this is the rule. If someone else has a different experience then that doesn't negate my experience nor does my experience negate his experience. איש איש and ha-experience shelo. 

Now it could very well be that he called and is so nice to me because he wants to keep me as a patient but I will be דן לכף זכות that on some level he really does care.

Anyway, for some time already I have been suffering from a toothache [actually - two toothaches] and I kept pushing off going to the dentist because it takes up valuable time I would rather spend doing other things, it often hurts and it costs me a LOT less money not to go the dentist than to go. Nice guy - yes. Chesed organization - no.  So I kept pushing it off. Procrastinator rule number one: Never push off until tomorrow what you can push off for two days...

First lesson relearned: Avoiding a problem usualy doesn't cause it to go away and often even exacerbates it. Toothache NOT disappearing. 

So I made an appointment and after having considered cancelling a thousand times - went.

I came, he graciously received me in his French accented Hebrew, covered me up with a "radiation apron", took an x-ray, looked at it carefully and then came the verdict: 

A deep pnimiyus-dike infection under a root canal and crown. 

The sentence: Five more visits to the dentist. One to a specialist to see if he can save the tooth. Four more to him and a price tag that is BLI AYIN HARA going to go a long way in helping two Jews pay a lot of bills!!:-) [He didn't inquire as to whether I have the necessary funds because he is my dentist - not my banker:-)]. 

But there was GREAT mussar here. 

We look at many things, people, situation, sugyos in Shas etc. etc. on the surface. But life, people and certainly Torah are far more complex. The real issues are usually VERY deep. Problems are VERY deep. An emotional and spiritual x-ray will often reveal what is going on beneath the surface. What we find isn't always pleasant but we must look. [My dentist assured me that if I do nothing about this problem it will eat away at my jaw. GREAT!!] That is the only way to fix it. Fixing it may be painful not fixing it will be FAR more painful.

OK!! BARUCH HASHEM!! Lesson learned. Hashem will pay for it as He does for everything else [I don't have it but He has more than enough, as the Ancient Prophet declared "לי הכסף ולי הזהב נאום השם".] The discomfort is part of my tikkun and HODOO LASHEM that I have teeth.

After I fix this one I have to fix the next one which is bothering me as I write and Hashem will get me through that one too.

Hashem will also send you tikkunim to make. They aren't always sweet and pleasant but they are ALWAYS boons for great potential growth. He is the secret in three words.


As they say in America: "It is what it is".

Or better, as they say in the talmud - GAM ZU LI-TOVA!!!