Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Two Simple Jews On The Subway

Last Wednesday morning, I found a seat on public transportation and took out a sefer Tehillim from my bag. As I looked up across the aisle from me, I noticed a man from my shul saying Tehillim. I watched him for a few moments and then opened my sefer.

I have always found this Persian man to be so gentle and kind that I feel like a like a coarse human being in his presence. I am not surprised that he never noticed me sitting behind him. He was so engrossed in his Tehillim that it was as if the whole world did not exist.

I would like to imagine the words of Tehillim that I said became intertwined with his as they ascended from the depths of the subway tunnel; the sincerity of his recitation propelling mine higher.

9 Comments:

At January 11, 2006 at 8:28:00 AM EST, Blogger Shoshana said...

That's beautiful. I am reminded of the thought that fire is one of the few things that when it is shared, just grows stronger and gives off more light instead of becoming weaker. I think prayers are like that as well.

 
At January 11, 2006 at 9:03:00 AM EST, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Beautiful words, beautifully expressed. I wonder if maybe he did notice you, though, and pondered similar thoughts.

 
At January 11, 2006 at 9:53:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Shoshana & MCAryeh: Thank you for your comment and for sharing your thoughts as well.

 
At January 11, 2006 at 11:03:00 AM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Three inspiring posts in one day!

I agree with McArye 100%!
And the visual of your and your fellow Jews Tehilim It is quite a beautiful thought.

I'm also glad that you were able to fast without the disturbances of caffeine headaches! That is great news, and I think your staying of it is an inspiration.

Reb Mendele's words that you posted are very powerful! The Baal Hatanya said that fear of punishment is rooted in klipa (from the forces of negativity), since the motive is entirely selfish - rather, as the Vitebsker quote states, we need to fear the sin itself.

It also reminds me of the (only slightly related) quote (that I have seen attributed to a few different early Chassidic leaders - usually R' Nachman of Breslov): "Worse than the sin itself, is the depression that comes later."

 
At January 11, 2006 at 11:10:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Chabakuk Elisha: I truly appreciate your kind words and liked the quote you shared from Rebbe Nachman!

 
At January 11, 2006 at 1:50:00 PM EST, Blogger torontopearl said...

Shoshana made a beautiful statement re. fire.

In my days of taking public transportation to/from work or university, I was always very aware of the few people around me, many of them African-Americans (Canadians?), who'd open up their Bible and read diligently as the subway stops or bus stops flew by. I couldn't help but notice many Hi-Lited sections in their copies of the Good Book. I was taken by this, especially when it was a younger person reading the Bible.

Imagine how good it makes me feel to see one of "our own" reading Tehillim or "learning" on public transportation...indeed trying to make every possible moment count. Instead of being lost within one's thoughts, one is lost within the thoughts of a great rebbe.

Most admirable.

 
At January 11, 2006 at 2:13:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Pearl: You described a scene I see every day going to work, "many of them African-Americans, who'd open up their Bible and read diligently as the subway stops or bus stops flew by. I couldn't help but notice many Hi-Lited sections in their copies of the Good Book."

It was certainly nice to see one of "our own" with the same sefer nevertheless.

 
At January 11, 2006 at 3:54:00 PM EST, Blogger Rebecca said...

wow, that is so beautiful.

 
At January 11, 2006 at 7:36:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks Rebecca.

 

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