As you will note if you follow my posts, I have a thing about keeping the holy land looking holy. If we believe it is holy, it should look like it. This would suggest caring for it as we do our finest silver, or the precious heirloom passed down for generations.
Being human, we will naturally fall short of the ideal, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take greater care. One of the ways we can do that is keeping our trash bins from overflowing. I know that sometimes we can’t help it, but there are often things we can do. What exercised me this holiday cleaning season were three kitchen chairs and a significant count of empty boxes.
In my neighborhood, a number of homes share a small number of trash bins. Being religious, a lot of cleaning is done, a lot of new things bought, and a lot of old discarded as a function of Passover cleaning. This will obviously test our receptacle capacity, even with the extra trash pick-ups the local authority schedules.
But this is also a holiday that celebrates our coming together as a nation. It is said that to merit the Torah, we came together as one, if only for a moment in time. In the spirit of being a nation, of watching out for one another, I suggest we take a little greater notice of how our inattention to little matters can lead to bigger messes.
So I went to take out the trash, and when I opened the bin, I noticed that three metal framed kitchen type chairs had been tossed in. Leaving aside that these might have been of some value to someone else, these took up most of the capacity of the bin. I took them out and the result was that the bin ended up only one-third full. I doubt anyone else would have, but I know what the result would have been, an overflowing bin, with ripped garbage bags and food wrappers strewn about as the result of the dogs and cats that get into such things. As luck had it, the chairs were collected separately within hours by the patrol that made the round to collect discarded furniture and similar bulk items.
In a similar vein, another bin was almost half-full of empty cardboard boxes. I am certainly happy for the person who got the new inkjet, but the simple courtesy of breaking down the box would have meant a lesser likelihood that we all would have had to deal with the resultant mess of an overflowing bin.
Today, as I returned from a short outing with my family, I had to negotiate the narrowed road where the recently emptied trash-bin jutted out. While I could certainly complain to the regional council - and I just might - I also wonder how many drove or walked by without pushing the near empty bin back into its place.
So I return to my theme, manners includes taking note of how our actions - or lack thereof - affect others. There are many little things we can do over the course of our days that simply make life more pleasant, both for ourselves and others, and there is no shame in doing them. Perhaps, and this may be the point for Israelis, if we give up our fear of being “friarim” for doing that which should be done by another, we may all have a better world to live in.