Learning from Our Friends

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.

5 comments on “Learning from Our Friends

  1. Yes, she very probably did not have room – or weight, more likely – to spare. (do you have any idea how much frozen broccoli kugels and sliced American cheese weigh??? Anyone with kids in yeshiva or sem can tell you. A LOT!)

    BTW, is there any other people who travel overseas with luggage stuffed with food the way we Yiddishe Mamas (and their messengers) do? I think only airlines flying to Israel have such issues with overweight…

  2. Mark is right. Inspect all goods taken. Some false friends might even hide drugs in their parcel. If any goods, whatever they are, violate some law, the naive, good-hearted person taking them could land in jail.

  3. I just had the reverse of your experience…I took something for someone else and today just heard that she went to Israel and she didn’t even mention to me she was going. trying to be dan lecaf zechus that she didn’t have room…

  4. The best solution is to know exactly what you are taking, pack it yourself and have the senders give it to you with a legal kinyan.

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