/BY GINNY ADAMS/ //AJT CONTRIBUTOR//
The other night, I reached into our fruit and veggie basket to explore.
My hands found a very soft, slightly speckled mango. It was late; I was hungry. Worried that it was going to beyond its ripeness, I cut into it with limited hope.
It was the most beautiful mango I have ever eaten.
My roommate (who has Colombian roots) told me how as a child, they would spend time rolling over-ripe mangos in their hands, cut a hole, and suck out the sweet, mushed fruit. But the mango had to be perfect; you had to catch the mango at that perfect moment when it was just a little too ripe, but still good.
This is such a succulent metaphor for patience, and illuminates the interesting ways that Hashem helps us to develop middot, or good character.
Patience is just one of those things I have needed to work on for a while. And it is beyond difficult to cultivate this trait. At the heart of cultivating patience is to actually be patient with yourself. You must be patient to develop patience. It is ironic. And it is possible.
I am too impatient and forgetful to buy mangos and wait for them to ripen. I have to hide away the mango, forget about the mango, and hope that I remember the mango.
But that is where the opportunity lies. Forgetting the mango is something I need to learn how to do in all aspects of my life.
Let me be clearer. I don’t need to just forget about things in my life; I need to be patient with how they are cultivated. This is the hand of Hashem in my life.
That mango that I forgot about was just a little holy lesson. I was rewarded with the amazingly sweet mango for an exercise in patience I wasn’t even aware of.
So, I’m taking on patience. I am going to get better at this patience. I am going to learn the benefits of forgetting the mango on my own.
In her amazing book, “More Precious than Pearls,” Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller takes on Eshes Chayil, the moving, deep, beautiful poem King Solomon wrote about the perfection of women: “She is like merchant ships; she brings her bread from afar.”
Rebbetzin Heller makes a link between this line and Ruth, the convert and the bloodline that ran to King David, thus the future Messiah.
Her character was such that she had mastered the balance of chesed (loving kindness) and gevurah (strength). In the Jewish perspective, these are opposites that work together to create a balance. In order to do this, you must be patient.
And because I want to be the ultimate woman, I want to be more patient. Especially with the people around me. Especially with myself. Forgetting the mango taught me the benefits of patience.
May I be blessed to never forget the mango again, but next time be cognizant of its transformation. I will be patient with the mango.
Thank you, Hashem, for helping me to forget the mango and rediscover it at a perfect moment. And thank you for helping me to see the lesson. May we all be blessed to patiently wait for our mangos, and then savor their sweet flavor.
Ginny Adams is the blogger at MangoKitchen.net, a new kosher blog that has been gaining attention around the world.