Sukkos: Remembering the Good

Yesterday, my wife and I had security called on us to remove us from the Postal Office.

Those who live in Israel can testify that the most corrupt service the government has (and they have a lot) is the Postal Service. When I say “corrupt," I mean they literally steal mail and packages from people. And yes, I’m speaking from personal experience, and my wife even saw it happen once in front of her. If you want to know what pure evil is, it’s them. And it goes to the top, and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

We’ve been expecting four packages that we ordered. The system is set up that every city (or area within the city) has a central office. When they receive packages, they ship it to several stores that work with the postal office, that serve also as pickup points. Then, you are to receive a notification that the package arrived with the information to pick it up. Fine. Naturally, our packages don’t arrive, and we have the shipping number for only one. My wife went down to the pickup place, and asked them to check on that one package. He explains that it was just shipped back to the central post office, since it’s been sitting at his place for a month. When my wife said that she received no notification, he replied, you’re not the only one. They do this all the time to people, and a lot of people are losing a lot of money. He explained that the central office will then send it back to the States, so we should try to do something about it soon. So, my wife made useless phone calls (of course) and got nowhere. Yesterday, we decided that we’ll go together to the central office and make a stand.

We got there and after a 30-minute wait, went to the worker who we needed to see, an Arab woman who was more interested in her iPhone than in helping us. (You have to understand, Arab professionals, such as doctors or pharmacists, are great. Arabs who work in professions that allow you to cheat and steal from people, well, excuse my racism/experience, you need to be on red alert from the beginning. That’s why when people have Arab workers in their home, it is the accepted "rule" to be home with them watching them the whole time, unless they have earned a good name. We told her the situation and she said, “No, the package is in the pickup point, it’s not here."

“We were just there. It’s not."

“Yes, it is."

“Okay," I said, “call them up right now and confirm it."

“No, I don’t want to."

“Then I want to speak to the manager right now."

So, she goes to the manager’s office, whose light is off, and comes back and tells me that he’ll be out in five minutes, so we should take a seat. “No," we said, “we’re happy waiting right here," because once we do that, we know that we’ll be sitting there all day "waiting" for him to never arrive. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy, and we had a nice, and very loud "discussion" about her lack of work ethic, etc. We had around thirty pairs of eyes watching this whole thing. We were loud, and defiant, but we were in control of ourselves. Finally, she realized that she wasn’t going to push us over, so she called Shlomo The Security Guard. Shlomo, a small, overweight Sfardi, with a kippa on his head, came over to see what was going on. He tried to get us to move, and we refused, and explained that we know if we do, we’ll never see the manager. He was in a quandary, since he knew that we were right, and we both knew that he wasn’t going to lay a finger on us. So, he asked us what the problem was, we explained to him the story, showed him papers from the Postal Service contradicting the worker. He looked over everything and agreed that we were right. He went inside himself to get the manager. He came out and explained that he wasn’t there, but he was right outside overseeing a shipment. He told us what his name was and what he was wearing. So, we went to the manager and explained the situation. He said he’ll take our number and get back to us. I made it clear that I wasn’t leaving until I got his personal number. He gave it to me.

At the end of the day, he never called of course, but I did call him. He told me that the package just arrived at the pickup point, and gave us the shelf number. The other three packages? He has no idea where they are and he’ll “continue to look into it." So, in the end, we got a partial victory. We got the expensive package, AND we had security called on us. What a great day!

Wait...why was I writing all this? Oh right…I have a dvar Torah.

“You were unmindful of the Almighty who begot you, and you forgot G-d who bore you” (Devarim 32:18).

The Dubner Maggid explained this pasuk with the following parable:

Reuven owed Shimon a large amount of money but did not have the money to pay him back. Shimon kept bothering Reuven for the money, and Reuven didn’t know what to do. So, he asked his friend Levi, for advice. Levi, who worked as a branch manager in the Israeli Postal Office, said, “Let me teach you a trick that I learned at work. When Shimon comes to you next time for his money that you rightfully owe him, pretend that you’re crazy, and then he’ll leave you alone!” So, Reuven tried it out, and lo and behold it worked! Shortly after, Levi saw that Reuven had potential and invited him to work as an Israeli Postal Clerk. A few months later, Reuven need some more money, since he wasn’t stealing enough from the locals, so Levi lent him the amount needed. When Levi came to collect, Reuven started to act crazy. Levi shouted, “I’m the one who gave you the idea to use this method. It’s a real chutzpah for you to use that against me!”

Hashem gave us the gift of forgetfulness, says the Dubno Maggid. If we didn’t forget, we would remember all the painful times with such clarity, we would not be able to function. He would be constantly down from remembering painful moments, that he would never be happy (I have heard that this is a problem for those with extremely powerful memories).

Every trait can be used for good and bad. Forgetting the painful past is a good usage for forgetfulness. But, forgetting the good that you received, is most certainly not.

Sukkos is a time of the gathering of the summer harvest. It is a time that we sit and look over the physical and spiritual bounty that we received over the past year. It’s specifically during this time, when we are to make a point and remember all the good that we have received, and then we will truly have a chag of Simcha!

Have a great Shabbos and a wonderful Sukkos!