The Dirty Stairwell
I heard this story from my long-time teacher Rabbi Aryeh Nivin:
When Rabbi Nivin and his wife, Ayala, were newlyweds they moved into a new building along with a bunch of other newly-married couples.
When they first moved in, the building was sparkling clean.
But over the years, b”H, all of the young couples in the building started having children, and then more children…
The once sparkling clean stairwell was no longer…As the children grew, they filled the stairwell with ashen handprints and muddy footprints, crayon scrawls and fallen bicycles.
One day, Rabbi Nivin had to go to another building to pick something up from another family. That building was brand new, occupied by a new batch of newly-married couples.
Rabbi Nivin was impressed that the stairwell in that other building was so sparkling clean. So he told the woman he was picking something up from, “I am jealous of your stairwell. It is so clean! The stairwell in my building is so dirty…”
The woman responded, “How many children live in your building?”
“I don’t understand…You have 40 children living in your building and YOU are jealous of US and our clean stairwell?!”
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