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KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted: August 5, 2007 כ"א באב, תשס"ז           ב"ה                                   

 
 
 
   
 

Do We Appreciate Our Gifts?

Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

I was sitting in the dining room of my friend's house waiting for his imminent arrival home from work. He came through the door shlepping a couple of shopping bags with him. With great joy he called his teenage daughter to the room and said, "Look what I brought you home from the store today." This loving father had carefully chosen some clothing that came into his extremely popular and successful store and put it aside for his daughter.

I don't claim to be any major maven on woman's fashion, but from what I could see the pile of clothing looked great. Any girl would dream to be given so many new skirts, shirts, jackets and suits.

So you could imagine my shock when I heard this sweet little teenager's response to her fathers loving and generous gesture.

"Abba, what?! You're expecting me to wear this? This is probably from the end of the season. This is the stuff you couldn't sell. I need money so I can go out and buy something 'normal.'"

I was so affected by the ingratitude that I saw. I was really upset for my friend for his honor and his relationship with his daughter.

Later that evening, while sitting at the dinner table, one of my children mentioned an issue they were having at school. Being the good father, and being that my occupation calls for me to give advice to all those who step into my office and ask for it, I gave my child sound advice, identical to what I would tell anyone else in the same situation. Lo and behold, my child said to me, "Totty, how could you even SAY that to me. You're giving me the same advice as everyone else. What do you think? I'm one of your clients?"

The sense of dé·jà vu was real and strong.

Here I sit in my office many hours a day listening to people and giving them advice on many different subjects - sound advice from the comments and reactions that come back to me - and like my friend the clothing store proprietor, my own child kindly gave my 'merchandise' back at me.

These two incidents, one following on the heels of the other, opened my eyes to the idea that many people don't appreciate the gifts that their parents, spouses and children have. In fact, there's an old Yiddish saying: "Der Shister's kinder gayin un shich." "The shoemaker's children walk around without shoes." The popular interpretation of this saying is that the shoemaker is so busy creating and making shoes for everyone else he doesn't have time to sew a pair of shoes together for his children.

I would like to offer a different interpretation for this saying. The shoemaker DID in fact make shoes for his children and he did bring them home for his children to wear, but when they saw the shoes that their father brought home the children said, "This is what you brought for ME? Your child? You're giving these to me probably because you couldn't sell it. I'm not wearing these shoes."

After opening my eyes to this phenomenon of people not appreciating the gifts and skills of those nearest and dearest to them, I saw so many instances of it that my head began to spin.

I watched the wife who hired a plumber because she didn't trust her husband - a highly skilled much in demand plumber. The husband who bought the cake because he didn't think his wife could make something nice enough for his needs - and her cakes are sought all over the city. I heard the parents hire an expert to give them advice on which house to buy - when their own son was a multi-millionaire real estate mogul. In each of these cases the experienced person was willing to give of themselves to their loved ones, but somehow their expertise and advice wasn't good enough.

Which leaves us with the question: Do we appreciate the gifts our parents, spouse and children have?

 

Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht 

Rabbi Hecht's Website:  www.sheahecht.com  

 

 
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