20 Tishrei 5782 / Sunday, September 26, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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That's so Annoying!    

That's so Annoying!

It seems to be human nature to resist the truth. It’s staring us in the face if we only spend a moment to look for it, to ask to be able to perceive it…


That’s so annoying,” said my eldest son. We were washing up after dinner one evening. He was back from university for the holidays and had been helping me at work that day to earn some money.


He had been cutting a sheet of steel when a fragment had lodged itself into his eye. Although we thought we’d got it out, it was still hurting and red.


I was going to have a look after we had finished clearing away from dinner.


He stood by my side and went quiet. He’d been to the Noahide conventions we’ve been running in the UK for the last 2 years and listened to Rabbi Brody teaching us about emuna and how we need it in every aspect of our lives. We had talked about emuna over dinner, out walking, you name it, when we have a chance to discuss it we do. We’d never been sure though whether he had been taking the message on board or been politely humouring us. After all, there is a fine line between forcing the message and possibly pushing someone away or gently helping them to understand.


He stopped and smiled. “That’s so annoying.”


I was puzzled, “What is”.


“I was thinking why my eye is hurting so much, perhaps I’d not given thanks for my eyes recently. I said thank-You, God, for my eyes and the pain stopped straight away.”


What a realisation. He had been listening after all!


“Why annoying?”


“Because it worked.”


It seems to be human nature to resist the truth. It’s staring us in the face if we only spend a moment to look for it, to ask to be able to perceive it.


It’s right there, ready and waiting for us to reach out for. It’s been there for a long time and will continue to be there and we can connect to it. Alright, it might be a small step at a time. We can ignore it or fall away from it, but it will be there when we reach out for it.


So to avoid decades of frustration, begin looking, begin asking now.


My son was so fortunate to have such a clear and instant experience. I hope it fills him with trust and faith in more than the material world.


He could have put it down to coincidence, which thankfully he didn’t because it had happened to him many times before.


Another son of ours has difficulty with learning, especially when it comes to English homework!  He mentioned this to Rabbi Brody whilst he was here; “Ask for help”, Rabbi Brody said. “Ask that it will come clear to you, that you will be allowed to understand the question,” was his advice.


One Sunday evening, trying to get his homework done, he couldn’t work out a question, the frustration levels were building rapidly. He’d been there for some time wrestling with this question. “I can’t do it.” He’d already spoken to his friends who also couldn’t do it.   “Do you remember what the Rabbi said?”


A few simple words later, and he’s not used to praying, it doesn’t come easily for him.  The reaction was immediate. He understood the question and his homework was finished in a few minutes.


Why do we need to learn this simple lesson, to ask, to have to relearn it over and over again? Some days I’m aware I have to remind myself to ask for help dozens of times a day. To reconnect, to realise I don’t have the answers. I can struggle with trying to find a solution for something for hours, but if I recognise what’s happening and come away from using force, to find a little humility, there is usually a subtle simple solution.


Humility, now there is a difficult concept in our complicated, increasingly secular world. And why would we want to admit that we can’t just pay more, push harder, shout louder and get our own way?


My son could have insisted I took him to the local eye hospital or to the doctor, but he thought that a quick thank you would help him…sounds to be counter intuitive, but how right he was.  Thank you Hashem, thank you, Rabbi Brody!

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