My Rav says that often people learn more from their friends than their Rabbeim. The Rabbi will suggest a course of action from the podium (more Torah, better Tefillah, more Chesed) and we can easily dismiss it as, “that’s easy for the Rabbi to say, after all he’s the Rabbi – but us little guys here have our limitations”. But when we see our friends performing these actions, we ask ourselves “if he can do it, why can’t I”? But it’s important to find our own balance.
Our recent to Eretz Yisroel (EY) trip gave rise to such a learning experience. On previous trips, if someone asked me to take something for them I did so reluctantly because I didn’t want to be hassled on my infrequent trips. Last summer a friend and his family were making the trip and since he knew my daughter was going to seminary, he offered to take a full suitcase for us. He said that with so many people wanting to send stuff, he considered it “almost an aveirah (sin)” to not take the maximum weight. We were greatly appreciative and when I considered the distance between my attitude and his, I realized this was something I needed to work on.
So on this current trip we called many people to let them know we were going and if they needed anything to be taken. Many people accepted our offer and it became a little overwhelming in terms of numbers and weight. We couldn’t take everything so we realized that in the future we should accept requests with simcha, but perhaps refrain from calling so many people.
As a postscript, the trip to EY went amazingly smooth in every respect even with the security check – which was cleared when my wife identified the mysterious object as frozen Chinese food.