Monday, November 02, 2020

The Story of the Rabbi and the Small Apartment


Hello my friends

This is a little Jewish folktale...

Once upon a time, there was a man who lived in a small apt on the UWS of Manhattan, with his wife, and two children

They were happy, but they felt their apartment was too small


So one day the man went to his rabbi and said,

Rabbi, I love my family but our apartment is too small.

I wish my wife and I didn’t have to use our bedroom as our home office, 

I wish my children didn’t have to share a bedroom,

And I really wish we had a second bathroom.

It feels so crowded in our apartment – what can we do?


The rabbi nodded, and wisely said,

Take your child, who is in school, and have that child do all of their schooling in your apartment via zoom.

Well, the UWS didn’t really know what to think about this but said, ok, went home, and set up his child to do all of their schoolwork on a laptop in their bedroom

Well, the apartment did NOT feel any bigger, so the UWS went back to the rabbi, and said,

Rabbi, our apartment still feels pretty small – actually, it feels more crowded than when I came to you. What should we do?

The rabbi thought a moment, and answered

Put your other child, who is on school break, and keep that child in the apartment with you – and make sure that that child doesn’t have any activities or playdates with friends outside of the apartment. And come up with things for that child to do all day long. In fact why don’t you share your phone with that child so that your child can be entertained if you run out of books or art supplies or creative ideas. 

Well, the UWS didn’t see how this was going to make the apartment feel bigger, but, he did exactly what the rabbi said, and now there was one child on a laptop in the bedroom, doing schoolwork, and another on the man’s phone, playing Duolingo and texting to friends, and doing whatever I guess it is kids do online.


But still the apartment felt small. Now the rabbi didn’t want to meet with the UWS in person, so they set up a zoom meeting. And on the zoom meeting, the man said, you know rabbi, my apartment feels smaller than ever, are you sure that you understand what my problem is?


And the rabbi thought this over for a moment, and then said, you know, why don’t you stop going into your office at all, but spend your whole day in the apartment together with your children, the one who is doing schoolwork and the one on Spring break. Well, the UWS wasn’t sure how this was going to help, but he did as the rabbi suggested, and started working entirely from home. And this involved learning a lot about zoom meetings and also a lot of swapping around between who was on his laptop and who was on his phone, and with both of the children there all day long the apartment now really felt quite crowded.


So the UWS decided to try to zoom with the rabbi one more time, and said, what can I do? The apartment still feels really small? And the rabbi said, well, why don’t you have your spouse work from home too. And then why don’t you stay in your apartment together for, oh, well certainly at least two weeks, and see how it feels?

Well, the UWS and his family were all now very crowded in the apartment. They were in every available spot – they were even using the bathroom as a workspace!


But you know what, after … some time had passed, they were all allowed to go back outside again, and to go back to their offices to work again… and they said, you know, here we are – we are healthy, we have each other, we spent a lot of time having real conversations together, and on zoom with our family and friends – we are actually pretty lucky.


And they never ever thought about their apartment being too small again.


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