He was sitting on a chair collecting funds for himself. He told me his story.
With regret in his voice of his past – he told his reason for his woes – his poverty, lack of a stable job and lack of a wife. When he was young he had somehow angered his mother on a number of occasions. Apparently, his mother – fed up with her son’s behavior – cursed him. This is why, he said he remained in his dire straits.
Trying to console him, I offered him some simple advice. Every year most synagogues, before the new year – Rosh Hashana – and before Yom Kippur do a nullification of vows and nullification of curses. I mentioned to him that every week – on Friday mornings – at our synagogue we do the same. I told him to attend and perhaps it would help bring some respite from his challenges.
He agreed to come. Many weeks passed and I did not see him at the synagogue.
I forgot about him.
Just recently I saw a stranger enter the synagogue – waiting for the service to begin. He became impatient and wandered off to another synagogue in the neighborhood. It was Joe. Before I had a chance to catch him – to tell him to stay to listen to the “nullification of vows and curses” – he left.
Perhaps his situation would have improved had he heard the nullification. Perhaps his situation was due to his lack of effort. Or perhaps because of his lack of enthusiasm in sincere prayer to Hash-m (G-d). Perhaps it was partly due to his mother’s curse.
But let’s say his life would have changed – little by little. One small step – of being patient – could have lead to improving of his lot.
We have our own package that stops us from reaching our heights. A reason to blame our lack of success or lack of happiness. We talk others down. When really we should bring ourselves up by rising to the challenge.
It starts by taking one small step in the right direction and praying to Hash-m to help us in our endeavor. G-d wants both from us.
G-d’s calculations for the situation of man are perfect. The problem that we have is – we don’t always understand his equation. Praying for true guidance and seeking guidance from Torah authorities are essential ingredients to lead us to the road to our own personal redemption.
* Names changed to protect identity.