Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"If I were a rich man..."

Tevya sang:

I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

I'd fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks
For the town to see and hear.
And each loud "cheep" and "swaqwk" and "honk" and "quack"
Would land like a trumpet on the ear,
As if to say "Here lives a wealthy man."

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
But is that what being rich really means?

According to Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, being rich is "being happy with your portion in life," what G-d gave you. It's one of those platitudes so easy to say but hard to do. I've met very few people in this world who truly live in accordance. One of them was my Cousin Mickey, ZaTza"L.

This week I met another one; actually I met his brother and saw both of them perform. They are Dekel and Ofer Shikratzi; I've probably spelled their last name incorrectly. They have a site, which is Hebrew only. Ofer has been a professional actor, even playing Shakespeare in England, for a long time, and Dekel is his much younger brother, who has Down Syndrome. Dekel is no less an actor, and the two brothers have been performing a two-man show for fourteen years. They have appeared all over the world.

This past Monday, they appeared at a standing room only performance in the Bnai Binyamin Yeshiva High School, Beit El, where I teach. Students, parents and staff were invited to attend. It was amazing.

Ofer, the older brother, who according to conventional wisdom, should be happy and confident, portrayed himself as troubled and traumatized by childhood events. Dekel, the one we would think dissatisfied with his lot, is actually the richer one, strong and confident, accepting his situation and happily going forward.

Following are some of the pictures I took.

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MizEllie said...

Fabulous post and so very true. When my husband and I were first dating he had only been in the US a year. He commented to me: "Wow, people in the US are rich. They have everything! So why do they look so sad or angry all the time?"

muse said...

Thank you
We all have so much to learn about how to treasure what we have.

KennewickMusing said...

Excellent post. These observations are so true.

Reality is, we can all be rich in spirit, in love, in kindness.

Does anything else really matter?

muse said...

Thanks, the show was so inspiring.