Positive Vision - Day 94
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
DAY 3 - The Business Trip
Our business may demand that we travel to some out-of-the way place to meet with clients, network, or attend a conference. This is a minefield. For someone alone, away from home, tests are everywhere, and none of the normal safeguards are in place.
When we are away on business, we lack the anchors of a schedule, acquaintances, a wife, and a home. The natural good habits and strategies that we have developed may not be automatically transferred to the new set of circumstance and new schedule (or lack of one). We may not see another frum person and possibly no one, not even a non-Jew, knows us at all. The code of conduct that we follow among friends and family because they expect it of us may not hold up when we are anonymous.
There may be no minyan. We daven quietly in the hotel room trying to have a modicum of kavannah … but is this davening? What about the boredom of long, lonely evenings when the day’s work is done and the only company is the TV with an infinite choice of channels? Let’s face it. This one is tough.
If we are to surmount this serious challenge, preparation is key. The goal, as always, is to minimize the time where we are exposed to the nisayon, namely, the down-time when we are alone in the hotel room. Starting the day earlier has been found to be helpful. Some business travelers have noted that getting up for an early-morning swim [in the empty pool] or an exercise session has helped them feel energized during the day, yet ready to retire earlier at night — when the nisayon is greatest.
There are websites that list minyanim in all sorts of far-flung areas. Making the effort to join other frum Jews and davening with them is such a chizuk that it is well worth a half-hour or even a 45-minute drive. It sets the whole day on a different spiritual plane.
We can ask if there’s a kosher eatery in the area. We can find out when Minchah/Maariv is scheduled so that we start and end our day with thoughts of the Creator, and reinforce our feelings of being a true trooper, an eved Hashem.
Returning to the hotel room at the end of the working day, the first thing to do is to unplug the TV. [Hopefully this involves moving a heavy piece of furniture. This acts as a shmirah against plugging it back in!] Now we can call home and schmooze with our wives, parents, children, and friends. We can also listen to a Daf Yomi or other shiur on the phone. Then, when we say Shema and go to sleep, we can be secure in the knowledge that Hashem appreciates our struggle and what we are doing to be His man.
At times like this Hashem proclaims, “If you give Me your heart and your eyes, Ana yada d’at Li — I know that you are truly Mine” [Yerushalmi Berachos 1:5].