Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sorry, I have no lemons... but these two do

[This week's Haveil Havalim is here.]

Jendeis has honored me with a Lemonade Stand award, “for those who use the lemons in their lives to make lemonade, or who help do the same for others.”

I am flattered; as I have written elsewhere, “it’s rewarding to have someone say, “Good job,” especially when that someone is a blogger whose work you also respect.”

But, frankly, I don’t really have any lemons.

I know that could be taken as a pretty corny, not to mention disingenuous, line. Who doesn’t endure times when they hate their situations? Who doesn’t make decisions they regret, or just get beaten up by other people?

Come on, Rabbi – Don’t give me that line about “I have a great family, a great community…” I know you’re not always happy. I’ve seen you at 4:45 AM.

True; guilty as charged. But I am far more likely to get angry at myself for mis-handling a situation than I am to get upset about the situation itself. Not because of emunah [faith in Gd], not because I’m happy-go-lucky [ I am so not], but just because that’s my personality. I get annoyed with myself, and I’m good at it.

But she gave me the award, thank you very much. Time to move on to the obligation that comes with it: to pass along this award to “those who use the lemons in their lives to make lemonade.”

This is not easy for me; I don’t read too many blogs regularly. I feel guilty about this, first because other people are saying some pretty good things, and second because I enjoy it when they visit my little corner here. It’s sort of like expecting other people to come to your shiur, but not going to theirs. (Which, come to think of it, is something I do all the time.)

But I don’t read too many blogs on a regular basis, and of the ones I do read, most of them don’t engage in the lemons-to-lemonade exercise.

I used to read Wings Like a Dove, where Rivka struggled mightily to turn the table on some very serious lemons, the kind you can’t joke about, but she hasn’t posted since November. I hope she is well.

Jameel used to do the lemons-to-lemonade thing regarding life in Israel, but ever since Cast Lead started it’s been lemons all the way around.

And don’t get me started on Orthonomics, where even the roses smell lemon-fresh these days.

The Renegade Rebbetzin (no, not the same as my esteemed rebbetzin) is a perennial favorite of mine, but she actually glories in her lemons. Why bother seeing the good side of a congregant or shul issue when you can rant about it? [Please, RenReb, don’t change – I love reading that stuff.]

I guess there are two blogs I read regularly which fit the bill:

Everyone Needs Therapy, where Therapydoc describes lemons in detail. As a good doctor, she won’t turn them into lemonade for you, but she will help you turn them into lemonade yourself.

And good old Jack, who turns the lemons of aging into lemonade. Not for himself, mind you; he can’t get past the big 40 staring at him, and I suspect that as soon as 40 is gone, it’ll be 45 that frightens him. But he does turn the aging lemons into lemonade for me – because whenever I think about getting older, I can always say, “Yeah, but Jack’s a couple of years ahead of me.”

Doc, Jack - thanks for everything you do.


  1. Thank you my friend, I like sounding like I am neurotic about my age. ;)

    Actually 45 doesn't sound too bad. Remember, I want to do the Ironman when I turn 50.

    Maybe you should do it with me. Talk about kiruv opportunities. Just think how many people would want your services then.

    Aside from a small Tznius issue it should be easy. ;)

  2. Interesting.

    Jack, for me 40 was tougher than any other age. 50 was fun, and 60... very soon.

  3. I have plenty of lemonade material...just no time to write.

    I'm still in a "time overdraft" having used waaaay too much during Cast-Lead.

    I did post a few Purim things though...and Im not done ;-)

  4. Jack-
    I've actually thought a lot about doing an Iron Man. I would love to do it, but the training time is unavailable for me.

    Gd-willing, you should be able to tell us about many more decade-markers.

    There you are! I figured that now that you were famous I would never see you here again. Welcome back!


  5. Hmm...we need to get creative. Perhaps we can integrate a treadmill into some of your shiurim. ;)

    I hear you. Actually time to train is probably my biggest challenge as well.

  6. snicker... Now I feel very young, indeed. Thanks!

    You do great work, here, Rabbi, keep it up!

  7. Thanks so much. What a nice Hanukkah surprise. I really appreciate it.

  8. Thank you so much for the nice comments. I feel badly that I have not written, or read any other blogs, in a long time. I guess I have been too focused on trying to fit 10 lbs of lemons into a 2 qt pitcher with room for enough water and sugar. Now I realize I need the pitchers of my friends to make it work.

    You have a very nice blog and I will be reading more.