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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
Language Barrier Or Bonanza?
My father speaks six languages and my mother five.  At least four were used at semi regular interval in my home growing up.  Despite this, I speak only one language fluently (if you can call it that), even though I learned in Yeshiva where Yiddish was a second language, and I am currently living in Eretz Yisroel for close to 14 years.  I always lamented that languages were just not my thing.  I am of reasonable intelligence but I seemed to be cursed with a language block. 

While living in New York I was always in the thick of things socially, with lots of friends, and doing more than my fair share of talking.  Since moving to Eretz Yisroel I have become somewhat of a hermit.  Partly by choice, but a good deal of the responsibility lies in the fact that it is a real burden for me to hold a simple conversation in Hebrew.  On those occasions that I do venture into a conversation, I need to think three time before I say something.  Many things that I want to say just get shelved because I do not know how to say it, or it is not important enough to bother trying to express it.

Last week after bemoaning my fate to a friend in the US, I began thinking about my plight.  Now that we are in the thick of Aseres Yimei Tshuva and Lashon Hara is always a hot issue, I started to see my situation in a new light.  Maybe just maybe I am indeed quite fortunate.  I started thinking about all the Lashon Hara I don't say because I can't remember the last time I sat around shmoozing with a "chabura".  All the inappropriate comments that didn't escape my lips because while struggling with how to say it, I realized it was inappropriate.  Maybe after all, for a big mouth like me, this was truly a blessing!

It brought to mind a beautiful but frightening Mashal I once heard (I think from the Chofetz Chaim).  A very wealthy man dies and goes up to Shamayim for his Din.  They find that he was an exceptional person.  He was a very generous Ba'al Tzedoka with both his money and his time.  He was Kovei'a Ittim LaTorah and Machshiv Talmidei Chachomim.  He was an excellent father and husband.  He was a key member of his Kehilla.  They showed him his special place in Gan Eden.  The only problem is that he can't go there.  Since he was a Ba'al Ga'ava they will not let him into this lofty section of Gan Eden.  They give him two choices, either he can settle for a less desirable place in Gan Eden or he can go back down to earth to rectify his ga'ava.  If he comes back humble he will be admitted directly to his portion that will be waiting for him.

After seeing this exceptional lot in Gan Eden he opts to go back down for another go round.  He then asks the Yeshiva Shel Ma'ala to please tell him what his fate will be on earth, this time around.  They tell him he will once again be fabulously wealthy.  He scream out, "No!  Please don't let be rich.  I will once again be a Ba'al Ga'ava and will have gained nothing.  Please this time, let me be poor."  His request is granted and he sent back down.  The man lives his life as a righteous person, however, life of poverty is not exactly fun, as he finds out.  Come Rosh HaShana time every year, forgetting his past, all he wishes for is to leave the life of poverty and become rich.  What a fool!  Should Hashem heed his cries?

We all have things in our life that we'd like to change.  We are not always in the best position to determine what is good for us or what we need.  Why we or here or what we should be doing.  Our life's goal was given to us many years ago, long before we can remember.  We have a master controller in Heaven who knows all this information and is helping us by putting us the right path.  Our tefilos should be to successfully complete our mission and make our life a success story.  This year don't outsmart yourself.  Know that your station in life is exactly where you need to be to get the job done.  There is a special place waiting for you when you are done!
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