I was at a business conference for religious women last week inJerusalem.
Three hundred women turned out.
It was amazing, seeing all these women in business. Women, I then realized, have been in business forever.
In Eishes Chayil it says, “She sees a field and buys it.”
Rivkah Imeinu made a great deal in the “Yaakov-Eisav” exchange.
I remember as a child going down to the Lower East on Sundays with our family. Almost every other store was run by a woman.
The Chofetz Chaim’s wife ran the store.
Every single hour of a woman’s day is full of business decisions.
I remember when my children were small. And I had a million things to do. I did deals in my head — profits versus losses.
If they spill all 6,000 Lego pieces all over the floor, but play quietly for a good hour, and it takes 10 minutes to sweep up the Lego, I’ve gained 50 minutes of free time.
Hide-and-seek had similar amazing dividends.
Then there were the cumulative and non-cumulative cleaning calculations. For example, if you have an unusually busy schedule for the week, or life, what do I let go of and what not?
Cumulative chores are ones that build up. Like dishes, laundry, clutter. These will take the same amount of time if they are done immediately or left until later. Non-cumulative chores don’t add up. A dirty floor takes the same amount of time to clean whether it’s been dirty for three days or one. Same sweeping motions, same time to cover floor space.
Life is a business.
This morning I had a conversation with a good friend.
She sounded 20,000-leagues-under-the-sea depressed. I know what’s bothering her. A son out of yeshivah, a daughter still not married. Everyone home with her all day. Nothing going according to plan. She’s sinking, because she feels the weight of all her efforts were not profitable.
“There’s only one solution, for now,” I say, “You have to walk.”
“I did that and gained two pounds,” she says.
“Forget the weight. Walking’s not necessarily for losing weight. It’s for gaining sanity.”
It’s how we look at the deal. Do we walk to lose weight or to gain sanity? I know if I walk to lose weight, I’ m not walking. And, what are the gains from getting depressed?
Many can tell about the losses.
There’s this famous story about the old man who was planting fig trees, and the king, who happened to be passing on horseback, stopped and said, “Hey old man, why are you working so hard to plant trees when you will probably never gain from them?” The old man explained to the king that he is planting the trees for his children and his children’s children.
This is the Jewish way to work.
I do my job.
And what I gain … that’s G-d’s business.