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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Effortless business travel

Daf Yomi Nazir 12

When I worked in finance in New York City, vacation time was frowned upon. 
“Officially, you’re taking a week off,” our manager would say, “but let’s be honest.  A week off really means three.  The week before you take off, you’re already one foot out the door.   And the week when you get back, you’re just trying to get everything back on track that you missed while you were gone!”

One who tells his butler, ‘Annul any vows my wife makes while I’m away,’ if he did so, you might think that the annulment would be effective.  Therefore the Torah declares, “Her husband sustains them and her husband annuls them.” These are the words of Rabbi Yoshiya.  Rabbi Yonasan demurs: We find everywhere that a person’s agent is just like the person themselves.

Rabbi Eliezer teaches: One who says to his wife, ‘All vows you make while I’m away shall be null and void,’ are automatically annulled.
The Gemara asks: If so, why (in the first case) would he appoint an agent?  Let him annul the vows in advance himself!
The Gemara answers: The man is thinking, ‘Maybe I will forget or get angry or be too busy before I leave and forget to take care of the vows.’

When it comes to business travel, some people can slide right into travel-time and right back into work-time smoothly and effortlessly.  They’re so used to travelling that they can pick themselves up from one day to the next and head out on a business trip.  They’ll be away for a few days and get right back into work, as if they’d never left.

But who is really keeping it all together?  Would you be able to travel without your spouse’s dedication?   You pick up and leave for a few days on business and they are left there taking care of everything at home.  You think you’re such a smooth traveller because you can just leave the office and go straight to the airport and return straight from the airport to the office, but where is your spouse and family in the equation?  Your smooth sailing only happens because your better half is keeping it all together!

Our Sages caution us about such a scenario and instruct that whenever we plan to travel, we must be there physically and emotionally for our spouse before we leave.  The self-centred individual in our Gemara is totally unacceptable.  How could he even suggest that he won’t be thinking about his wife before he leaves?  Forgetting or getting angry or too busy are simply not acceptable

Your spouse must constantly be your number one priority.  They should be eternally engraved at the forefront of your thoughts.  That means that you are there for them before you leave, never taking for granted that you couldn’t leave without their incredible support.  And when you get back, don’t jump straight into work commitments trying to show everyone that you’re some super-dedicated workaholic – your first priority must be your spouse who has held the fort while you’ve been off gallivanting around the world.  They, first and foremost, deserve your time and undivided attention. 

And, of course, don’t forget to buy them a little something while you’re away.  Whether you’ve been gone for a week or a day, don’t take them for granted.  Let them know how grateful you are!

You don’t need to show anyone what a hero you are that you can glide from the office to the airport and back seamlessly.  You need to recognize and appreciate the true hero that has made it all possible.  May you always remember to demonstrate your gratitude to the real hero who keeps your life all together!