Below is a part of a letter to the editors of the Yated. It is titled “WHEN THE CITY COMES TO THE MOUNTAINS”, and discusses the problems that sometimes come up when we go upstate.
The formula for this problem is more or less as follows: The people living here are not used to the ‘givens’ of life in New York City. Mix that with the frustrations of a massive increase in population, a measure of various preconceived notions, a dash of hatred, and a pinch of some really foolish behavior, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. (If a reader does not agree that a chillul Hashem is a disaster, then this letter is not for him.)
So it’s not hard to understand why it irks people waiting fifteen minutes more than usual in Shop-Rite to see someone in front of them continue to add items to their grocery cart. And it’s not hard to imagine the reaction of the year-round drivers when one of the thousands of extra cars crowding the streets stops in the middle of the road to let somebody on or off, (which itself is an issue that is a problem in many communities all year round and should be corrected).
It is probably a bit hard for a city person to have a feel for the problem because he doesn’t have an idea of how different it is when things are quiet around here. Thus, he does not know how much, what goes on during the summer, makes a difference to the country folk. It is well known to those frum Yidden living here year-round that the friendly faces that might greet them from behind a local sales counter during the winter months can be expected to become cold and unwelcoming in July and August. During the winter, you do not have to watch so that you are not accused of cutting the line, whereas during the summer, if you are not careful, it could easily happen.
If I were to try to compose a list of the possible situations where the danger of this problem lies, it would probably be too long for this column, let alone this letter; but I know that anyone who has a heart to care about it also has a head to know where to be careful.
Again, I’m not coming to write an essay about the gravity of chillul Hashem; I’m just trying my luck at helping raise awareness of the fact that there is a serious issue here during the summer which is worth bearing in mind.
I do want to share one final thought which I found to be powerful. Even though a person does not usually have control over anyone but himself (and possibly his family), it is very likely that with one genuine act of kiddush Hashem, he can make a positive impression upon an outsider which outweighs and outshines the negative ideas that may have been conceived thorough the actions of others – the same way a small ray of light can overtake a room full of darkness. May we be zoche to be the ones who reflect the light and the sweetness of the Torah to the eyes of the nations.Sincerely wishing everyone a great summer.
P.S. If any good comes out of this letter, it should be a zechus for the Yidden in Eretz Yisroel.
Sullivan County, N. Y
The suggestion highlighted above is so simple, yet powerful. I’m constantly reminding myself that I have no idea what impact I can make on another person. As the media and the world turns its’ eyes towards Israel we need to remember that our neighbors, co-workers, and people we see in the street are watching us, as well. If interested, I’ll be happy to email the entire letter to anyone interested. Good Shabbos and thanks for reading.