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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

How to get him off the couch

Daf Yomi Yevamos 18

Levi has graduated from university but isn’t working yet.  He just sits around the house, reads the newspaper, takes the dog for a walk, goes to the gym, blogs on the internet . . . and before he knows it, the day’s over.  It’s driving his parents crazy.  Every day, his mom searches monster.com for jobs and sends them to him but she doesn’t even know if he’s bothering to open her emails.  They’re at their wits’ end; they don’t know what more they can do for him.

Rabbi Judah ben Beseirah taught in the Mishnah:  If there were three brothers and one died, leaving a widow.  One of the surviving brothers wants to marry the widow’s sister but he or his other brother has an obligation to perform the levirate marriage (yibum) with the widow.  What should he do?  We tell him, ‘Wait until your brother takes action!’  Once his brother has performed the levirate marriage or its annulment (chalitzah), he is free to marry the sister.

Sometimes, we just need to be patient and wait for our brother or sister to take action.  We can send them all the job postings in the world, but if they’re not motivated, we’re just wasting our time.

Just like the couple in the Mishnah who are eager to get married, sometimes we are ten steps ahead of everyone else.   You might be passionate about a project but if you want it to succeed, you might need to have patience and wait until your brother shows initiative and takes action.  Maybe it’s an employee that is slacking at work that you’re trying desperately to push in the right direction.   Maybe it’s a spouse that is not yet on the same page as you with a big life decision. 

When people are told what to do or just spoon-fed, they are rarely successful.  But when they show initiative and take action on their own, the results are often incredible.  Not everyone moves at the same speed and it can be challenging to allow people to find their way on their schedules.  But it’s often worth the wait, because when they do end up taking action, this is their project, their idea, their motivator!

As eager as you may be, you need to be patient with those around you.  Let them take action of their own accord and then you will all be successful.  Everyone has great potential.  Those around you may just need some space.  But then you will see – when they take action, all the blessings will fall into place!