Living in 3-d: Disciplined, Determined and Demanding

Living in 3-d: Disciplined, Determined and Demanding

Dr. Miriam Adahan ( 2004–06–24)

I have three different aerobics instructors who are all disciplined, determined and demanding, a fact which I find very inspiring. Beauty and brains are gifts from G-d, so we are merely praising the Creator when we comment on either trait.

But the three D’s are qualities we acquire through hard work, day in and day out, as we

struggle to face the terror, corruption and injustice of the world with emunah and


bitachon. Whenever I feel discouraged or outraged, I command myself to go into

what I call my 3-D mode, which is what I must do whenever I hear the news,

especially now, when Israeli officials speak so casually about how their beautiful

homes, their holy yeshivos and synagogues and the productive hot houses in Gush

Katif will soon be given over to Arab murderers after the expulsion of Jews from the

area. How else can we keep sane in the face of such insanity and betrayal?

Painful realities intrude everywhere. A new member of my aerobics class is a

beautiful young girl who seemed around 18. Covered with scars, including a long

gash on her face and similar ones all over her arms and back, I assumed that she was a

terror victim. Noticing that she often spoke after class to Frimit, the mother of Malki

Roth, H.yd. who was murdered 3 years ago in Sbarro, I called Frimit to get her name

and find out if she is in need of financial assistance. It turned out that her name is

Limor and that Limor’s sister, Shulamit, and Malki had been best friends. Limor was

ambushed by Arabs along with her husband, Shuli Har Melech, H.yd. almost a year

ago. Shuli was killed instantly and Limor, 7 months pregnant with her second child,

was in critical condition as was her baby, Sarah, who had miraculously survived.

Watching this delicately faced widow exercise with such fierce determination and

quiet strength always reminds me that we are all scarred by life in various ways, some

more than others, and that our ability to live in 3-D mode is an inspiration to others.

Terror comes in many forms, and one of the guises it wears is the face of

poverty. I thought of my 3 Ds when Mrs. Cohen came to my door today to collect

the funds which JEWISH PRESS readers have so generously contributed to her. She

sat at my table drinking the cold water I’d given to refresh her spirits on a hot day and

then pulled up the sleeves of her blouse to reveal long rows of scars on both arms,

silent witnesses to years of dialysis and then a successful kidney transplant. “I used to

be the one who gave to everyone,” she said sadly. “Now I’m the one who has to beg

because I’m too sick to work.” “Well,” I replied, “I’m going to give you the chance

to give again.” I’d just read about a newspaper article about a woman named Penina,

a mother of ten, whose husband had lost his job and had disappeared in the hope that

this would force the welfare services to take care of his family. I had looked up her

number up in the phonebook that morning and saw that she lived near Geula. So I

wrote out another check and gave it to Geula, who promised to give it to Penina.

After she left, I called Penina and told her that a check would be coming soon. She

gasped and then she said, “Just this morning the city cut off my water and they are

threatening to cut off my electricity as well!” The amount I had given would just

about cover both bills.

After Geula left, a young single mother called to tell me that her protein for

the day consists of an egg and a small tub of yogurt. She makes an omelet, cuts it into

four pieces, and gives herself and each of her three children a small triangle. After

putting a check in the mail to her, Sarah, a former student, called from Kiryat Arba to

see if I could help a young single mother who developed a serious case of rheumatic

fever after not having enough money to buy antibiotics for a strep infection. She can

now barely take care of her children. Since it is important for me to know each family

I help and to see what their living conditions are, Sarah has become my conduit for

families in the Kiryat Arba and Hebron area.

The economic situation here is unbelievably difficult. Over 50,000 people a

month have their phone service, water or electricity cut off. I certainly cannot help

them all, but the few who do receive a donation are very grateful to you, dear readers,

including Chaya Sara, Ida, Inbal, Rivital, Yehuda and Yuval and many others. I often

make the check conditional on finding a job or helping others. Five hundred children

from the impoverished area of Gilo will be going to summer camp soon, thus enabling

many single mothers to keep working and also providing jobs to many unemployed

youth in the area. And a community center in Gush Etzion will hire people to work

for them, using FUND money, because nothing helps build self-esteem like the ability

to make money through one’s own efforts!

A life of ease and comfort does not develop strength of character, but poverty

can also diminish the spirit and kill the will to live. This world is not for wimps!

When we arise each morning, we can be like the ten spies who felt like grasshoppers

because they didn’t believe that they could handle the struggles in this world. Or, we

can see the world from the eyes of Calev and Yehoshua, who knew that Hashem

created a world in a way which would satisfy our need to be heroic. There is no

greater pleasure than the thrill of a victory which comes when we have pushed

ourselves beyond what we thought were our limits. Each phase of life demands

heroism; the more we develop our 3 Ds, the better we will feel about ourselves.

Every dollar you give to charity is a heroic act. This is why even the poor are

commanded to give tzdakah, for giving is what reveals our Godly essence. Thank you

for lifting the spirits of the downtrodden and showing them that there are people out

there who care. Giving others a will to live is what will strengthen your own will to

live when times are difficult. All the love we give does come back – 10-fold!

[Because the ADAHAN FUND FOR THE POOR has no office expenses or

salaries, all donations go directly to those who need it the most. It is estimated that

some $350 million has been collected for terror victims over the last five years, but

very little of this money has filtered down to the actual victims. PLEASE, when you

make a donation, make sure that it goes to an organization which is truly non-profit!

Donations can be sent to 2700 W. Chase, Chicago, Il. 60645. G-d bless you!]

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