A few days ago, I encountered some poor customer service. I made an appointment, arrived, was told the appointment had changed, and asked to come back later. I rearranged my schedule, came back for the new appointment, and was informed to return in a few hours.
At this point, I could feel my face turning red, my volume increasing, and physical stance growing rigid and straight. My voice betrayed me, “Don’t you know that I have work to do?” I almost didn’t recognize myself as I grew angry over the way I was being treated. The employee and I continued to banter back and forth.
Without thinking, I brushed the hair out of my eyes and felt the bobby pin of my kippah starting to slip. My kippah. Within seconds, I shut my mouth, thanked the employee for their time and explored my next steps to getting what I needed. Thank God for my kippah.
In the Talmud, Rabbi Eliezer’s students asked him to teach the “pathways of life.” Which principles should guide our lives? Among other pieces of advice, he offers, “Know before Whom you stand.” When I felt the bobby pin slide, causing the kippah to slightly tilt, I knew that I was forgetting Rabbi Eliezer’s advice. I forgot that I was speaking with one of God’s creations. I forgot that people watch my behavior and model accordingly. I forgot to take a path of patience and understanding. I forgot before Whom I stand.
I was lucky to be wearing my kippah. A gentle reminder to step up and be mindful. That God cares about my behavior, and I can certainly do better. We all can.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.