the gift of giving

In this time (or is it era?) of gift-giving, my husband is spending a larger amount of time and patience on couples who are in trouble. This is part of the job, we know, counseling, but not refereeing. Or lawyer. Or messenger boy. He doesn’t get paid by the hour; he doesn’t charge by the case. And in many of the cases, they often aren’t even shul members, but he has to do it. Or so he says, for a while, until even he loses patience with these people. And by that point, they are so used to having him do their bidding that they can’t even consider growing up and taking responsibility for their own actions.

I have realized that this is another indication of our skewed values of our society in general. We talk all about the wedding and the mazel tovs and the stuff stuff stuff that they can’t see past the day itself. Remember the dangerously simplistic and silly motto, ” Today is the first day of the rest of your life?” But really, what is next? What’s the plan?

What do they want? And what are they willing to do to get it?

Because it’s not about anything more than what you’re willing to do. What will you give? What are you bringing to the table? Not what you are expecting to get.

Okay, I do get that you want something. We all do. And, to a certain extent, we all deserve to be heard. But that’s the detail. We have to learn to express ourselves honestly, so that we know what we’re thinking.

And honestly, that’s part of what’s wrong with the liberal (as in “sprinkle fairy dust liberally”) thoughts about how Israel should just roll over and give everything up. The trouble with Israel thinking it can win the Arab world’s love by giving and not standing up for itself is getting old. Now the seams are showing from many of the Wikileaks that the Arab leaders hate Iran more than they hate Israel (okay; just as much) and still Obama bends over backwards to support the harsh dictatorship of Mubarak. Free election, my foot. Why we continue allowing certain people free reign in their poor behavior…why we look to give people passes….Viet Nam, anyone? Are we being honest yet?

This is too much giving, without any sense of balance. Entitlement gone completely askew.

Jonathan Rosenbaum puts together a very good defense of Israel standing up for herself here, in case you haven’t seen it.

So let’s review, shall we? Today is the first day of standing up for ourselves, stating what we want, being honest about what we want and what we are willing to give, and how we will demand that everyone give us the respect that we are giving to them.

Sound good?

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