Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm starting a revolution

(whisper) "Smile. Pass it on."

I had a revelation on the train today. If you barely smile - just raise your lips slightly - the person sitting across from you notices. And, barely perceptably, that person's lips slightly rise. Smiles are catchy. But they're scary to do, especially when the person sitting next to you might be a serial killer. So I decided to start a revolution (when I have the funding).

I'm going to print out business cards that have nothing but a smily face and the above four words on them. I want to hand them out. There doesn't have to be any interaction, just the handing of a card to a person, and then leaving. People do it all the time for bars, passing out paper that just gets thrown on the why not for emotions? It has to be passed on, so hopefully too many won't get thrown out. And it's something that touches people, I think, so hopefully they'll actually pass it on!

So...if any of you have the funding and the guts to do it, you can take the credit - but start it!

Sunglasses, Part II

My sister sent me this link:

Apparantly, people who are very chic wear sunglasses indoors. I'm not chic, I'm friendly (or at least I try to be - see my upcoming post!). I'd rather not be chic, makes you have to be so standoffish and cold...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dare to say something

I learned a valuable lesson on Friday.

I was waiting for a bus, just sitting on a bench minding my own business, and I noticed a frum girl sitting next to me. Actually, I'd noticed her before I sat down and thought, I guess now we'll studiously ignore each other...but I started to think. Really think. What will it hurt if I said hi to her?

Maybe I'll be embarrassed, maybe she'll say something incredibly nasty, look at me like I'm slime, scum of the earth, and move to sit out of the way of my contamination. But...maybe she's just shy. Maybe she's not smiling 'cause she's afraid of what I'm afraid of - not recieving a smile back. But then maybe I'm just as bad as all the people I complain about. Maybe I'm the one who's unfriendly and unsmiling...

S0 I put a smile on my face and said "Hello, I'm trw!" And, lo and behold, she looked at me and smiled back!

People, inside, are really kind (as a general rule). They're just shy. In some places, they're so sure of rejection that they're afraid to say hello. So try it. Just once. Smile at the person. It makes you feel better, 'cause you get that whole self rightous "I'm being nice" thing. And it certainly makes the other person feel better.

The world can be a lonely place. Or a lovely place. It's your decision.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Positive Side of the Monsey Catastrophe

I just came back from a wonderful Shabbos in Monsey. My hosts used paper plates and plastic silverware (oxymoron, I know), did not use many of their pots and pans, and constantly came up with more shailos to ask the rav over the course of their Shabbos.

Why? Because someone had been selling treif chickens as kosher ones. Enough has been said, I think, about the awfulness of the situation, the tircha that everyone now has to go through, the dishwashers and china that can't be kashered and therefore the money that is being spent...

But seeing it, for me, being a part of it - just for one Shabbos - just showed me how amazing my people are. The Jews of Monsey found out that there was a problem. It wasn't a sanitary problem, there was no dirt on the chickens (at least not visible), and to an outsider, it had to look pretty strange. I was reading a copy of the NY Times over someone's shoulder on the subway that showed a picture of a bunch of Chasidim waiting on a line to do hagala (one kind of ritual cleansing), and really wondered what the guy holding the paper thought about it...

I'll tell you what I thought about it: I thought, Hashem, Your people love you. They'll do anything for you. וכל מאודך indeed. When push came to shove, the people that I saw in Monsey rushed to remove this purely spiritual taint from their lives. No, there was no physical ramifications that one could see from the use of treif chicken on their plates. But the spiritual ramifications are so important to Your people that they will do anything, no matter what the cost, to remove them.

מי כעמך ישראל

Edit: I just heard (via Stx, who would know) that all the rabbis in Monsey got together and put out a statement that everyone should kasher according to what their specific rabbi tells them - and no person is allowed to make judgement on other people's kashrus. If you did what your rabbi told you to do, you're fine. If someone else's rabbi told them something else and they did it, then REGARDLESS of what the rabbi told them to do, you have to assume that their kitchen is kosher. It's all about שבעים פנים לתורה and אמונת חכמים.