Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Sleep-Away Camp Mashul

One summer night when I went to sleep-away camp, all the kids in my cabin got to use the camp sauna that was located a stones-throw from the lake. Sitting in the sauna in our swim suits, we added more water on top of the heated rocks until the sauna was unbearably hot and we were all sweating profusely. Once we had all turned red, we ran outside and jumped into the freezing cold lake for a few seconds and then ran back to the sauna to warm up once again. We repeated this procedure four or five times that night before returning to our cabin where we instantly fell into an incredibly deep sleep.

Why I am telling you about this? Because it appears to me that it a good mashul to describe a certain phenomenon in interpersonal relationships. Sometimes we develop a real closeness with a person only to later have that relationship cooled off due to circumstances beyond our control or beyond our comprehension. The relationship can change from being incredibly warm to freezing cold.

Sometimes this phenomenon reoccurs occurs over and over again. And just like the mashul above, this repeated transition between hot and cold saps a persons strength and leaves him totally exhausted.


At April 17, 2007 at 10:17:00 AM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

I would think that relationships that go from extreme heat to extreme cold would seem very uncommon. I have seen relationships that Go from extreme to extreme, but those don't usually return - more often, I think, relationships are like a fire: From full blaze to lower game to burning coals to smoldering embers - then a little anything causes the flame to rise again in a moment (proving that the fire was there all along, fluctuating between a more revealed and more hidden state). There is more to be said about this using the fire analogy, but it probably is obvious.

At April 17, 2007 at 11:10:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

You are correct these types of relationships are indeed rare - they are very taxing nevertheless.

At April 17, 2007 at 10:17:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Intersting mashul. In a way what you describe is similar to ones' relationship with Hashem. As we feel that we get closer and more grounded in our yiddishkeit, bitachon, or emunah, we are thrown a challenge or an obsticle comes in our path of avodas Hashem.
Just my 2 cents worth.

At April 18, 2007 at 6:41:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Neil: I thought about what you said and I am not sure if it fits well with our relationship with Hashem, since while there are times of closeness and distance, this does not create a resentment on the persons part towards Hashem as it sometimes does between two people.

At April 18, 2007 at 12:04:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

True, resentment is a difficult thing to let go off. In R A J Twerski's book DEARER THAN LIFE he discusses why it's important to let go. I'll try to look it up tonight and comment w/ a summary.

At April 18, 2007 at 12:16:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Please do! It is something I continualy struggle with. Chabakuk Elisha and I posted about it here

At April 22, 2007 at 2:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Sorry for not commenting sooner. Rav Twerski, MD writes the following specifically about the Mitzvah of not taking revenge, although it applies to resentment as well:
If you cannot take revenge, and connot express a grudge, of what use is it to hold on to resentments? They can never go beyond presonal distress. If I cannot act out my resentments in any way, then hanging on to them and allowing them to fester can only be harmful to me, and never toward the offender...It has been said, "Harboring resentments is allowing someone whom you don't like to live inside your head rent-free." There is certainly no logic in my being tormented because someone else acted improperly. (DEARER THAN LIFE pg 52)

I found these words rather comforting over the years.
Based on your original posting, I would suggest trying to isolate what factors occur before things "cool off" or get "heated".


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