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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
Lessons From The "D" Train
Like all good Bnei Torah I always took my gemara to learn on my daily commute on the train to Manhattan.  How much time did I actually spend learning?  Almost as much time as I spent reading the sports section of the daily paper over the shoulder of the nice gentleman sitting next to me.  Now I've graduated.  With the new entertainment systems on the El Al airplanes I can learn the Daf Yomi and simultaneously watch three different movies even with my own screen turned off and without any sound (because I Chas V'Shalom wouldn't touch the headphones).

When hearing a tape from Rav Shimshon Pincus addressing this very issue, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.  He asked why is it that when a Ben Torah learns gemara he can look over at the newspaper of the fellow sitting next to him, while the newspaper reader never, ever, ever, looks over our shoulder to catch a glimpse of our gemara?  Why are they totally focused while we are looking for other attractions?

This question brought back other embarrassing memories.  Like the time I dozed off on the train only to wake up hearing a thud on the floor.  Startled I looked around only to see all the passengers staring at my gemara strewn in middle of the compartment having fallen out of my sleeping hands.  With all eyes focused on me I meekly moved forward to claim it.

But the train ride wasn't all that bad.  There were positive lessons as well.  Despite being a tremendous masmid, as you already know from the above, nevertheless I felt it prudent to close my gemara one stop ahead of my station in order to get ready to disembark the train.  One day I saw a woman totally absorbed in reading her novel and I was sure she was never getting off the train, or so I thought.  Yet as the train pulled into my station she got up without picking her head up and got off the train.  As I followed her out of the crowded station I saw that she managed to navigate through the rush hour subway crowds without ever taking her eyes off the page, as if she had antennas.  Amazed I saw her leave the station into the street and disappear still with the book opened.  I thought to myself that if Chazal say we learn Tznius from the cat then we can definitely learn Hasmada from a woman engrossed in a novel. 

Well, my bumping into people in the crowded station while trying to learn the daf only lasted one day.  But my deeper understanding of what they will demand of me on the day of reckoning has lasted to this day, right alongside my vivid memories of my splattered gemara and the woman trapeze artist.

As one of our esteemed readers you have a chance to inspire your fellow Revach readers.  Everyone has experiences that either happened to them personally or that they heard from other.  Please share yours with us and share it with all the others that enjoy this site just like you do.

Please contribute to our site by sending your stories to info@revach.net  or just send them through the comment box (it will not be seen as a comment).

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