25 Kislev 5778 / Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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What Suitcase?    

What Suitcase?

Admitting to ourselves (and maybe to others) that our actions, even though unintentional, brought about negative consequences is actually a huge part of fixing the problem…


Ah, yes. The fond memories I have of when my husband, David, and I were first dating. The other day, I suddenly remembered this incredibly romantic story, and I’d like to share it with you, because it contains such a powerful life lesson. Don’t get jealous.


We were enjoying the first few months of our romance. Call it being in love, infatuated, or just plain stupid, we were floating two feet off the ground with stars in our eyes. Correction - he was floating two feet off the ground with stars in his eyes. I was getting increasingly annoyed by the fact that I somehow got suckered into doing his laundry and cleaning his apartment. And cooking for him.


Don’t worry, revenge is sweet. Instead of breaking up with him, I married him. He gonna pay fo’ da rest of his life. A-men.


A few months into our romance, we decided to travel to New York for Rosh Hashana. We thought we would take a few extra days to tour the city and eat at as many kosher Chinese restaurants as we could find.


Incidentally, I have to say something totally unrelated. When our mutual friends wanted me to go out with him, I adamantly refused, simply on the basis of his shoes. He was wearing Birkenstocks, and I just found his whole look to be repulsive. Never mind the fact that I had my own pair of Birkenstocks, which I loved very much. But my feet looked cute in them. His just looked like Ronald McDonald took his shoes off.


Anyhow, I agreed to go out with him, and for some reason, on our second date, I fell in love with him. Of course, it was probably just the Yetzer making some hocus pocus on me, but I was too naive and blind to see through the smoke. In any case, I impulsively decided that this guy I barely knew would be the one I would marry.


Am I sounding a bit superficial?


I don’t know what that had to do with anything, but let’s move on with the story. So it’s the morning of our trip, and we’re packing the suitcases. I had one suitcase opened up in his room, and I was in the middle of stuffing it with clothes that I would never end up wearing because I’m a terrible packer. I always severely over-pack.


I can’t remember what happened, but I must have been doing several different things, and before I knew it, we were on our way to the airport. Of course, I wasn’t going to lug my suitcase anywhere. That was David’s job, since he was supposed to play the role of honorable gentleman. Where did these hallucinations come from?


When we got to the airport, I stepped out of the taxi, wearing dark sunglasses and imagining that I was a Grand Duchess who had just stepped out of her Bentley in front of her 150-room palace. My Royal Prince was supposed to tend to the bags while I stood there looking, well, royal, with a little Audrey Hepburn thrown in just for fun.


At the check-in desk, the lady asked him to place his luggage on the stand so she could check it through. So he did it for the first suitcase. When she asked if he had any other bags to check in and he said, “No,” my brain suddenly screeched to a stop.


WHAT? No more luggage??


I turned to stare at him. “Where is my suitcase?!” I demanded, giving him the infamous Iraqi Eyes.


“How am I supposed to know?” He answered. Oh, okay. Play the idiot card, why don’t you.


“I had it opened in your room! WHY DIDN’T YOU BRING IT????!” I started screaming at him so loud, the check-in lady started quivering in her seat.


“Why should I bring it?! It’s YOUR suitcase!!” he responded. And that, my friends, was the end of the romance.


I still married him, but that was only because I thought he was rich. Boy, did he fool me. But that’s okay! I still spend his money like he’s rich. In any case, that was the end of our romantic vacation. Oh, and you want to know the worst part? He wouldn’t even pay for the new clothes that I had to buy!! Talk about CHEAP!!!


15 years later, we’re still laughing/fighting over this incident. I insist that he should have taken responsibility, and for some strange reason, he thinks that I should have taken responsibility.


The truth is, we both should have taken responsibility. But it taught me something. Many times, things happen in our lives that are not what we want. Guess what? Many times, it’s really our actions that caused these undesirable consequences!


The problem is, we don’t want to admit it. We think that by deluding ourselves and pretending to be the victim, somehow this will fix the problem. It don’t work, people! Admitting to ourselves (and maybe to others) that our actions, even though unintentional, brought about negative consequences is actually a huge part of fixing the problem.


Newsflash, folks: Hashem doesn’t punish! He’s just giving us the consequences of our actions! And it’s always done with a heavy dose of mercy. How do I know I’m right? Because if we humans were put in charge of teaching other people a lesson, everyone would be dead by now.


It takes courage, maturity, and humility to admit when you’re wrong. Thank G-d, I have none of those things, so I can go on being the victim and blaming hubby for everything. It’s much more entertaining, I promise.


I sure hope David doesn’t read this one. If he does, I’m going to tell him Rav Brody wrote it.



* * *

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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