Is there a lot we should be grateful for, that is taken for granted?
Rav Yitzchak Silberstein remarked that sometimes in our simple day-to-day activities, we come across moments and individuals, from whom we can learn life-lessons. One such instance occurred early one morning, while he was going from Ramat-Gan to Bnei Brak. He passed by someone who was sitting on a bench. The individual was raging mad. He obviously had experienced something very aggravating.
Suddenly, the person reached for the laces in his footgear. With a crazed frenzy, he ripped them out of his shoes and threw them to the ground. Next he threw down his shoes. The person remained seated, but his face was steaming.
Rav Zilberstein understood that this person really needs help. He wanted to approach the individual, but at the same time was concerned if it was safe. Rav Zilbersein came before him and asked if there was any way he could be of assistance.
The person, as if awakening from a bad dream, said, “If you want to help me, curse him.” The Rav responded, “It is not the way of Jews to curse, but maybe it would help if you shared with me whom you wanted to curse.” The person then stared at the lace and shoe that were on the ground and gnarled, “Curse this lace.”
The Rav asked, “What did the lace do to you?”
The person at first was still too upset to say a few words, but finally explained. Every morning he runs a few kilometers. That morning, on the way to his run, a shoelace opened. He tried to retie it, but then the lace came out of the hole. Next thing he knew, the plastic on the tip of the lace broke off. He kept trying to insert the lace in the hole and it didn’t go. That’s when he got so frustrated and angered.
The Rav tried to calm him trying to have him understand that what had befallen him was not a tragedy. When the Rav walked away he was struck with a most important lesson in life. One of the requirements for eating the Paschal lamb in Egypt was that people wear their shoes at that time. What was the significance of that? Wearing shoes reflects that a person is ready to go forward. While eating the offering, people were to be in gear for the Exodus. Indeed, a blessing recited every morning is “SheAsah li kol tzorci,” we thank G-d for taking care of all of our needs. Our sages teach that this refers to our donning shoes. That makes our wardrobe complete and puts us in gear to be ready to take on the day.
For many it would be an accomplishment if they felt appreciation for a pair of shoes. The Rav thought about the fact that there is more to the shoes than its material and its having been fashioned. There should be appreciation, not just for even the laces, but even for the tiny piece of plastic at the edge.
Do we appreciate the ‘small things’ in life? Do we even take notice of what they are? Do we recognize the efforts, time and resources that others expend as they work on detail?
Rabbi Hershel D. Becker
 Boh 12:11
 Brachos 60b; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 46:1
 Borchi Nafshi Boh pp. 190-192