Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz – I’ve Got an Idea


Operation Inspiration

This morning I thought of an amazing idea for my column. It started with a cute story which led to a brilliant follow through and a great message. It was perfect and I know you would have totally loved it. But…

Usually when I get these flashes of inspiration I take out my cell phone and write notes about what I thought of. However, lately I’ve been working on keeping my phone out of shul, or at least keeping it (on silent/do not disturb mode of course) in my Talis bag for the duration of davening. Therefore, I didn’t want to take out my phone and then I forgot what I was going to write.

I tried racking my brains but for some reason as much as I tried, I could not remember it. I do recall that it had something to do with an event that happened when my daughter was eight years old… or six years old… but that’s it. I got nothin’.

However, fear not! You will not be left hanging. Though I asked Hashem to please remind me what I had been thinking of earlier, He had other plans.

I recognize that everything comes from Hashem and if I’m writing it’s not for me, but to share what Hashem wants me to share and try to bring people closer to Him. That means that if I forgot it, Hashem didn’t want me to write it this time. Maybe I’ll remember it sometime in the future, but for now, it’s on hold.

I understand that what Hashem DOES want me to write is exactly what I’m putting down now, which is the lesson that we don’t make our goals to do amazing things (like writing a side-splitting mind-blowing piece of prose) but rather to serve Hashem as He wants us to in the present moment.

While everyone might love to be the Rosh Yeshiva, Klal Yisrael needs people who teach Aleph Bais. It’s an integral part of the world and is not to be underestimated.

A sports team might revolve around a pitcher or quarterback but without the other players (I don’t even know what a nose tackle is but it sounds like a smaller position – and one that can be pretty painful) the team’s stars can’t shine. While we all might like to be the boss, a company is built on all the employees and each role matters.

We have a saying in my family: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” It probably had its basis in cutting a cake and deciding who got the flowers and who the extra cream or dividing up a pizza pie which had uneven slices. The point is that we should take what we get in life and should not be busy thinking about what we might have gotten or what someone else got. If our focus is not on how far we go in life but on Who we are with along the journey, then whatever we do is successful if we’re serving Hashem.

When I went to a petting zoo with my kids once, we bought buckets of carrots to feed the other type of kids – you know, the ones who may have beards at the age of two or three and figure prominently in a popular Pesach song. My daughter saw a small goat and wanted to feed it but a larger goat with horns kept pushing the little one out of the way to try to get the food. She was so frustrated and annoyed at the naughty goat. While the animal wouldn’t understand that it was being a bully, people should be able to realize that it isn’t nice.

That’s essentially what happens when we are jealous. We may not push others out of the way (unless it’s our siblings and then they had it coming…) but wanting what wasn’t destined for us is just as bad.

When we strive for one thing and end up with another, it doesn’t have to be a failure. If it leads to a successful acceptance of Hashem’s will though it’s different than your own, that’s a Win if you’re playing the game correctly!

So, while I thought the other concept was going to be a winner, and that it was what I was supposed to write, I understand that Hashem has other plans and my job is to not only follow them but be happy about them too. It’s actually very liberating because I’m not tied to the past or lamenting what I think “might have been.” Instead, I live in the moment and love whatever Hashem sends my way – like this article. I hope you did too.

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