This man’s writing always shakes me up. He has a knack for getting to the heart of a matter. Chareidi Judaism doesn’t have a better representative in the news media.
When a radio transmitter transmits sound waves, there is no way of knowing who will receive the signals. To pick up the radio signals, the recipient must have a radio and the radio must be tuned to a particular frequency.
We are all in the same situation as that radio transmitter. We are constantly sending messages – some verbal and some through our behavior. With respect to the messages conveyed by our behavior, we often have no idea as to who will pick up the messages. That depends on who is watching, and more importantly who has an eye to see. The whole world heard of Hashem’s miracles in Egypt and of the Splitting of the Sea, but only Yisroel really heard and took the message to heart.
Of those messages that we are transmitting perhaps the most important are those that convey what it means to be a Jew whose life is shaped by Torah. Every moment, we have the potential to make a Kiddush Hashem or the opposite. Heightening the awareness that we are always broadcasting deepens everything we do as a Jew.
A grade school teacher once asked a class of eight-year-olds what is a tzaddik. One answered that a tzaddik is someone who fasts every Monday and Thursday; another that a tzaddik is someone who learns all night. Finally, one little girl piped up and said, “My tatte says a tzaddik is someone who does what is right.”
That last definition encompasses a great deal of wisdom. For one thing, it implies that every moment there is always a right and wrong thing to do. Each moment presents us with an opportunity to go up or go down on the ruchnios ladder. But there is no standing still – ever. If we start to view life in this fashion, we become reflective human beings, and not just creatures of habit.
In a similar fashion, an awareness of the potential ramifications of everything we do makes us more alive, thinking beings. For that reason, I make something of a hobby of collecting stories that demonstrate the immense impact of seemingly innocuous actions.