Parshas Vayechi
 January 10, 2009 - 14 Teves 5769

                      WHO PREPARE

                                       Voices From the Ezras Nashim

It has been a very busy week with many tasks necessary for daily existence. I wondered if I would find anything I wanted to write about. Then a few moments ago I opened an email from my friend Michael Allen. He used his email to forward a piece posted by his friend Eliezer Broder. In the past Michael has forwarded other pieces by Eliezer and I have always found them as interesting and thought provoking as the piece that follows. I reprinted exactly as sent to me. The comments in blue are Eliezer’s.

True story (per Snopes I love the last paragraph. I added a thought in blue below.

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station,
most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

And if this true for a bosor v'dom - who is playing music loudly "in your face" in a train station - and he can go unnoticed - how much more so do we "walk by" the work of the Master Composer and Musician who is always invisible to our five senses. Is this not the greatest waste of all?

Thank-you Eliezer for your insight. May we all take a moment to stop, experience and appreciate the wonders of our world and the Maker thereof.


Elk’s Menu for Parshas Vayechi
January 10, 2009—14 Teves 5769

               Whole Wheat Challah    
Baked in the merit of a child for a childless couple. To participate in this mitzvah please call Yehudis Halberstam—718-972-4793 for this week’s names.
Citrus Fruit Plate
Vegetable Soup
Salmon en Croute with Caramelized Onions
Pasta with Vegetarian Sausages
Brown Rice with Mushrooms and Sauteed Onions
Broccoli Rapini and Peas
Hearts of Palm and Tomato Salad
Lettuce Salad with Fine Herbs and Homemade Dressing
Marble Cake with Orange Frosting

January 14, 2009—14 Teves 5769

Egg Salad
Tuna Salad
Gefilte Fish
Chickpea Salad with Colored Peppers
Israeli Salad

Brunch Following Fishing Minyan
Sunday, January 11 ,2009

Orange Juice
Bagels and Cream Cheese
Smoked Salmon with Onions and Tomatoes
Potato Blintze Casserole

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