Does It Matter?
by Chana Klein
So I did a small thing. It didn't hurt anyone. No one will ever know.
I wonder how many of us have self-talked in that way. Is it really true that it will never matter, whatever it is, or was? I had borrowed a set of tape cassettes from a Jewish organization in the 1980's. I listened to each tape more than once. Then, I forgot to return them. Cleaning out my attic this year, almost thirty years later, I saw the set of tapes lying in the disorganization that had been up there. I didn't know what to do with it. Cassette tapes are sort of useless now for most people, who are listening to iPods and CD's. I felt ashamed that I had not returned the cassettes. I felt I would be judged if I told someone that I had failed to return something, judged by people that is. I did have a passing thought that I might be judged by Heaven. But the important thing in that moment was really saving face in the here and now.
In reality it may not have seemed to be such a great sin. Perhaps it was what we call a chet, missing the mark, a mistake. But as my soul sees it now, the price is too great to let it go.
This past August I was very ill, so ill that I literally passed to the other side. When I got there, I was given a very enthusiastic welcome by my brother, Michael, (a"h), who had died in 1992. He seemed to be exhilarated upon seeing me. I, later, wondered how he knew I was coming. I also wondered why he was alone there, the only one greeting me. I realized that I had expected a crowd of people to be there when my time was up. I don't know who exactly I was expecting, other than my brother. But, just the same, it was not what I expected.
As Michael was calling me to be with him, I suddenly felt a vortex-like-tunnel pulling me back to the healing table where my physical body rested in a fetal position, unable to feel itself. My husband was working on me using the healing techniques we have spent years being trained in. But the strong force of my brother's welcome, again, pulled me back to the very bright place where he was animatedly standing and greeting me. He was in front of very high, thick, green bushes. There were no peepholes in the bushes to see what lay on the other side of them. My brother, who had been very ill when he died, now looked terrific, happy, and healthy. And then again, Whoosh! I felt the vortex- tunnel grabbing me back to the healing table and to my husband. And then I was again drawn back with Michael, back and forth, with no sense of time.
I awakened at about 4 am see my husband in his tallis, praying at my side. It was clear then that it was almost morning and that I was going to be alive in this world at least for another day. Perhaps as a result of my encounter with that world, my vision is clearer than it had been before. It's as if issues, things, actions, have sharper, clearer edges. There is a defined contrast between what is good and what is not, and a clear picture of results and consequences of each.
What about the cassettes? I was still in a quandary about exactly how to handle that. I had a vision of myself dealing with the cassette issue in the next world and I was paying dearly for my mistake. Someone then told me a story of how, more than 20 years ago, he had taken something that was not his from an institution. He shared with me that his rabbi suggested that he send them a donation to correct his act. Hearing that story was a personal message for me. I am following through with a meaningful contribution worth more than the unreturned cassettes to correct my mistake.
I have often gone through my life journey unaware of how Heaven does justice. And so I am sharing this with you. At this time in my life, when one of you whom I am working with, or whom I have befriended, or even whom I have just met, is hurting inside or hurting themselves through their actions, I find myself crying, sobbing. And when one of you is helping yourself, or another, I cry as well, but in a joyful way. Each deed is now so much more meaningful and important.
I am now so much more aware of how significant my intention is in every little thing I do. I can no longer just be carefree in my actions and decisions. I see the sparks and the energy that each thing we do gives off. How can I share this with you? How can I impress upon you how important is every little thing you do? The time of Chanukah is approaching, a time when all things become possible. It is a time when the weak overcame the mighty, the pure overcame the impure, the righteous overcame the wicked, and the students of Torah overcame the immoral. That means that this is a time when you and I can overcome what is stopping us.
May all of us, and each of us, attain the vision and foresight to be who we really are and to be who we really want to be. I wish you a joyful Chanukah.
Copyright © 2010 COPYRIGHT CHANA KLEIN. All rights reserved.
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