I'm laying on my new mattress. It is heavenly. I feel like a typical American consumer of unnecessary luxury items while people on the other side of the world are starving, but I still want to stay in bed forever.
The mattress did not arrive on Friday. The delivery guys showed up with the wrong size; I called the mattress co. and yelled; they apologized profusely. I felt guilty for revealing my rude New Yorker DNA. Then they offered to send me the correct, smaller size--for the same price as the larger. I knew this made no sense but really wanted the mattress NOW, like a three-year-old stomping her foot, and almost said yes. But my common sense (or perhaps echoes of the same voices that told me I should sleep on a rock) eventually prevailed. I cancelled the order.
Five minutes minutes later the mattress co. called back and offered to deliver the correct size at a large discount. I don't understand this business model, but I don't mind it, either.
Because the Torah always seems to know what's happening in my life, last night at a contemplative Shabbat service we studied a section of this week's parasha, Vayeshev:
And when his brothers saw that it was he their father loved more than all his brothers, they hated him and they could not speak to him peacefully.
Rashi's commentary on the line:
From what is stated to their discredit, we may learn something to their credit: they did not say one thing with their mouth and think differently in their heart.
--Genesis Rabbah 84:9
We formed hevruta to explore our reactions to the pasuk and commentary. A contemplative hevruta is not a conversation; rather, each person speaks uninterrupted for a few minutes while the other listens with complete attention. Rarely in life do we get to be heard fully, or have the opportunity to listen fully. It is a meditative and freeing experience no matter which side of the conversation you're on.
I found myself talking about the mattress, which had refused to retreat from the front of my mind even after all those minutes of silence. I commended the honesty of Joseph's brothers; yes, the whole experience was messy and mean, but everything turned out OK. (Well, except for Pharaoh and the 40-year-exile business. But that wasn't Joseph's brothers' fault.) I told my somewhat bewildered hevruta partner how I, too, spoke my mind that very afternoon, felt bad about yelling into the phone, but also got what I wanted and deserved. In the end losing my temper stopped me from getting screwed.
I left services feeling as if I had besmirched Torah by comparing its wisdom to my dealings with a mattress company, but also determined to never be afraid of acting upon what was in my heart. (Within reason--I draw the line at throwing a loved one into a pit). Also that Rashi, and Whomever wrote down those Joseph stories in the first place, were pretty smart guys.
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