I haven't sent out my parsha email in about a month.
Received this email:
Hello R' Ally - I hope all is well and I miss your emails!
Moshe [name changed]
I have no idea how many people read my emails. My assumption is that many people do what I do when they receive one of ten thousand weekly parsha emails - they skip it [I also assume that some people read them]. Who knows.....
What I do know is that the thought of spending time trying to benefit others and then being ignored by those same people is less than the best feeling one can have.
In general, life has taught me [in my own experience maybe not yours] that people are so caught up in their own lives they really don't have time for you or what you have to say.
So the only "revenge" we can take is to try to take an interest in what other people are saying [provided that what they are saying is worth taking an interest in]. It is a lonely world where people are self centered.
Case in point: I receive one weekly parsha email that I LOVE. I told the author so [we have never met - he is a talmid chochom from Bnei Brak] and he replied with such effusive thanks I don't think he would have expressed more gratitude had I sent him a check for a million dollars. I got a clear sense from him that he spends a tremendous amount of time and effort on what he writes and receives no recognition or feedback. He told me that I give him the strength to go on. Me? Little me?
Yes. Even little me can give someone a sense of satisfaction when he takes an interest in what they have to say.
Why is that???
Why can't people give this talmid chochom a few minutes, read what he writes and comment, thank him for his hard work etc.
I have one person who replies to every Torah email I send with the words "thank you". I don't know if he even reads it but he is a mentsch so he says thank you. I asked him to stop because I didn't want to burden him [I don't write for the "thank you" but that people should read it] and he continued anyway. So to him I give great credit for mentschlichkeit.
When was the last time you picked up the phone or texted someone lonely or forgotten? Today is a good day to start.
Sweet friends - It is hard but the holiest thing you can do is forget yourself and immerse yourself in showing interest in others.
Holy because that is what Hashem does all day every day. He is just watching us, taking care of us, making sure all of our needs are met and just thinking about us.
I have had this experience many times and Hashem has it every second כביכול - To reach out, to attempt to create a connection ... and to be rebuffed.
What are all of Sifrei Neviim if not Hashem reaching out to us?? And how do we respond?
BUSY BUSY BUSY. LIFE IS SOOO BUSY.
Just ramblings of a sleep-deprived-semi-delirious-crazy-for-the-geula-sick-of-the-galus-and-darkness-yid.
But maybe I'm on to something.
So PLEASE sweet friends - try to brighten up other people's day a least THREE TIMES for the next nine days until tisha b'av. A text, a call, or best - a huge hug with the words I love you. Like to the guy you sit next to in shul. He needs to hear it.
We all need to hear it.