Make your own list

checklist.jpgSometimes we get so immersed in our routine, our daily life, and the many things that occupy our minds, that we lose sight of the blessings that surround us. When we drive our cars, it is difficult to look up and enjoy the beauty of the sky, appreciate the blue jays and the cardinals or just observe how the trees dance with the wind.

As we transition into the fall and the trees around us start to change their colors, I wanted to take a minute and reflect about the beauty of the place we live in.

When it’s time for me to think deeply, the Talmud is always one of my first resources. Through its statements, teachings and anecdotes, we can discover what was essential to our ancestors almost 2,000 years ago.

We read in the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 17B)

“It has been taught: A scholar should not reside in a city where the following ten things are not found:

  • A court of justice
  • A charity fund collected by two and distributed by three
  • A synagogue
  • Public baths
  • A pool (jacuzzi or thermal waters)
  • A doctor
  • A blood-letter
  • A slaughterer (Schochet)
  • A scribe
  • A school-master.

Rabbi Akiva also adds several kinds of fruit because these are beneficial to the eyesight.”

What is our modern day list? A school, doctors, police, a synagogue, firefighters, a supermarket, a spa, an Apple store, Wi-Fi, a gym, a library, parks, trash collection, good restaurants, a Kosher store, Home Depot, dry cleaners, etcetera.

Each of us has his or her priorities in the list and the list may change as we grow old.

I would like to encourage you to make your own list. What are the ten things you need in your city in order to feel comfortable? Do you appreciate them?

Take the time to enjoy the city where we live. We have so many blessings that we may not appreciate in our city and they are out there!

We may not have the walls that the Sultan Suleiman built, we may not have the Western Wall or the Al Aqsa mosque, but if we appreciate what we have, we can still make this a holy city.

Posted by Rabbi Fabián Werbin