The above sentence is both profound, practical, instructive, and chock full o’ brilliance. It was written by Wendy Mass, from her book, THE CANDYMAKERS. I haven’t read the book, but it was easy enough to Google the quote.
There is a fairly popularized proverb that I first saw in one of Rabbi Paysach Krohn’s “Magid” books that states the idea that if everyone’s “peckelach”–bags of troubles/challenges/heartaches-were hung out on a line for all to view and choose from, we would look at everyone else’s and then stick with our own “peckelach”.
So, the person you are sitting next to during your morning commute might look like they have their act together and are “living the dream, baby,” but they also might be dealing with a personal problem that we could never image dealing with. The person in front of you in shul might look like they are, mamesh, davening like they are in the Beis Hamikdash, but maybe they have trouble with something as “basic” as reading Hebrew and English fluently. The kid in you child’s class who always seems to get their teacher’s extra attention year after year after might
be subjugated to the most horrific family situation that you could ever imagine. The moreh who teaches your child in the mornings, has two other “part time” jobs in the afternoon (plus one on Sunday) and still manages to clean the house, help the kinder with their homework, make dinner every night, and lead a weekly Tehillim group might be hiding a secret that would ruin many lives. We just don’t know what others have to deal with.
This is especially important to think about as we end our year and enter into a new one surrounded by a series of days that, literally, can change our future.