By Rabbi Marc Margolius
The Institute’s Tikkun Middot Project integrates mindfulness practice with attention to a series of middot (spiritual/ethical qualities). This month, we are focusing on another essential Jewish spiritual trait as our middah of the month. Below you will find wonderful resources for meditation, embodied practice, and text study of the middah of kvetchitude.
Meditation of the Month: “Eh. Things could be better.” (The Veyizmir Rebbe)
Guided meditation: Close your eyes. Visualize any number of ways in which life could be better.
Embodied Practice of the Month:
Scrunch up your face tightly. Shrug your shoulders. Release. Sigh deeply. Moan. Whine. Repeat.
And Adam kvetchethed to Eve: “For sure, we can eat anything. The weather is great. And the fruit is always in season. But would it spoileth some divine plan if we ate an apple, for God’s sake?”
(Bereishit Rabbah, midrash on Genesis 1.)
The people took to kvetching bitterly, saying “Oy” and “Vey iz mir.”
“Behold,” said Moshe to the Holy One, “they truly annoyeth me.”
(The Book of Numbers, ad nauseum. Also, see pretty much the whole Torah.)
“Hath we arrived there yet?”
“You calleth this a meal?”
“What? No Evian? Alright, alright. I guess tap water will do.”
“So, whence cometh the brisket?”
“One would thinketh the towels could be thicker, no?”
(Selections from Bamidbar Rabbah, midrash on Book of Numbers.)
Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? One who learns from everyone.
Who is mighty? One who subdues one’s passions.
Who is rich? One who rejoices in one’s portion.
Who is honored? One who honors one’s fellow human beings.
Who is miserable? One who wins the lottery and kvetches that last week’s pot was bigger.
Others say, one who complains loudest that the bagels were gone by the time he (some say she) reaches the buffet. (Others versions: the lox, not the bagels.)
Some say, who is miserable?
One who just moved one’s car and forgot that alternate side parking hath been suspended (this view is observed only in New York City and walled cities).
(Mishnah Avot – Ethics of the Patriarchy 1:4, version discovered stuck in a menu at the 2nd Avenue Deli.)
Note: this post is a joke, in the spirit of Purim!
For more information on the Institute’s Tikkun Middot Project, click here.