12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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They Don't Appreciate Me    

They Don't Appreciate Me

We all complain that our spouses, children, employers, employees, friends, relatives don't appreciate us, can we pass the same test? Do we appreciate Hashem?


This past week was brutal. On second thought, maybe that's a bit harsh. Let's just say it was very, very difficult. One of my kids got a fever, and then gave it to the baby. His fever lasted almost a full week. But the fever wasn't the worst. It was the stuffy, runny nose and horrible, retching cough that went along with it. Poor baby. Sometimes he would cough so hard that I thought his stomach might come out of his mouth. Night after night I would sit up and hold him while he tried to sleep, and I tried to stay awake so I wouldn't drop him.


I took him to the doctor several times, and every time it was the same “his lungs are clear” nonsense. Finally, on the third visit, I used my charm and grace to convince the doctor to put him on the nebulizer. Okay, so I threatened him.


Near the end of the week, I started getting sick. Of course, moms know that when we're sick, there's usually no time off. We just have to suck it up and continue on with the superhuman workload without slowing down. G-d forbid my husband would have to make the kids lunch one day! I ain't gonna let that happen! He'll send them with chocolate spread sandwiches, chocolate coated wafers, and potato chips.


It's also a scientific impossibility that he will ever do laundry, as he conveniently forgot how to wash clothes when we got married. How bad has it gotten, you wonder? I'll tell you, and I promise I'm not exaggerating. Last Friday afternoon, I was in a rush to get everything in order before Shabbat, so I made the big mistake of asking my dear husband to bring in the clothes from the dryer. I was in the middle of folding the previous load and didn't want to lose precious time. So he brought me a half-filled laundry basket.


I thought it was strange, but didn't dwell on it. Normally, I do a load when the laundry basket is full, which is like, every five minutes or so. I finally got started on folding the clothes that were in the laundry basket, and after folding a few shirts, I realized that something wasn't right. I took a good look at the shirt in my hand and noticed that it looked pretty dirty. It took me a minute of wondering, and since my brain cells had gone into hibernation for the winter, I couldn't figure out why these clothes were still dirty.


I called my husband over and asked him, “Where did you take these clothes from?” “From the dry-er,” he answered. I hate when he does that. “Tell me, which one is the dry-er, gen-i-us?” I politely questioned him. “The one on the left, with the see-through door,” he answered, ever so proud of himself.


I had no words. I must have sat there for a good three minutes with my jaw hanging open, just staring at him and trying to decide if I should laugh or cry. I came up with a compromise, and started laughing so hard that I was crying. The tears were actually tears of pity, both for myself and for my husband. How is it possible that he could be so smart and so clueless at the same time?? Men. Nebach.


Now back to my original story. The other night, when most normal people would have been resting in bed, I was busy trudging around, trying to straighten up after the daily tornado that keeps hitting my house. Every time I bent down to pick up a toy, I couldn't help but let out an, “Oy vey.” When I finally got to the kitchen, it looked like the daily tornado had invited his friend the hurricane over for a play date. That's when I pulled out the “Dios Mio!”


As I stood at the sink, trying not to sneeze or cough all over the dishes, I actually began to feel sorry for myself. Miraculously, it doesn't happen too often, but that night it hit me hard. These days, I seem to be into lists, so I came up with a list of all the ways my family doesn't appreciate me.


My children don't appreciate when they have clean clothes to wear every morning.


They don't appreciate the hours I spend food shopping and cooking for them.


They don't appreciate the hours of clean-up I do every day to keep the house in order.


They don't appreciate the money we spend on toys, after-school activities, and any extras here and there.


They don't appreciate that I wash them every night and make sure they're clean.


They don't appreciate that I take them to the doctor and buy them medicine when they need it.


They don't appreciate that every night they get into a nicely-made, cozy bed.


They don't appreciate that I put their needs before mine.


They don't appreciate that I will always be there when they call for me, and will do my best to help them.


They don't appreciate that when I tell them “no” or punish them, I'm doing it with their best interests at heart.


That's all okay, because that's just the way kids are. Some kids are unusual and actually say “Thank you,” which is wonderful. Generally speaking, we don't expect our kids to understand the level and depth of sacrifice and effort that we put into raising them.


However, as they get older, we raise our expectations of them, and hope that they will see how much we care for them. Usually that doesn't happen until they're married and have their own kids, but like I say- better late than never!


Looking over my list, I suspect that Hashem has a similar list, and it goes something like this:


My children don't appreciate that they wake up in the morning.


They don't appreciate that I'm watching over them every second of their lives.


They don't appreciate that I'm maintaining their body functions, each to the degree necessary for his spiritual correction.


They don't appreciate that I keep their homes and everything in them intact all day and all night.


They don't appreciate the money I give them, and spend it on short-lived pleasures instead of using it as a tool to bring more awareness of Me into the world.


They don't appreciate that I wash their souls every night and give them back, pure and fresh, every morning.


They don't appreciate that I will always be here for them when they call Me, and will do whatever it takes to help them.


They don't appreciate that when I tell them “no” or punish them, I'm doing it with their best interests at heart.


Each of us certainly appreciates Hashem to a certain degree. But, there's always room to appreciate Him more! Rav Arush teaches us that there is one trick to having gratitude for something, and that is saying, “Thank You.” Listen to Rav Shalom Arush's CDs, narrated and translated in English by Rav Lazer Brody: Learn to Say Thank You and Stop Crying. Get yourself a copy of The Garden of Gratitude. Remember, gratitude is the secret to happiness!



* * *

Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il

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