The 100-Year-Old Comedian

The 100-Year-Old Comedian

Yoel surrounded by a mountain of presents.

For his 5th birthday last night, Yoel received a remote-control operated bus, a soccer ball, a super-duper red bike from his grandparents, and a Mt. Kilimanjaro of dollar store gifts…

And Yoel was ecstatic throughout the cake, icecream, and jello hearts, until…he remembered.

“Eema, where’s the watch we bought?”

I went to the closet where I’d been storing the presents, but, alas, Yoel’s watch was nowhere to be seen. I looked up and down, but still no watch.

For Yoel, his new bus and soccer ball and super-duper red bike ceased to exist as he mourned his lost watch until he fell asleep that night. And even later that night, I found Yoel asleep in his bed with a lone tear still frozen on his cheek.

Yoel’s grief over his watch (which b”H, I found late last night) reminded me of the astounding abundance that fills our lives.

A few months ago, a rabbi I greatly admire was suffering from heart disease and needed to raise $80,000 for the operation that, b”H, saved his life. And this made me think of the precious gift that is the human body. Do you have functioning eyes? A functioning kidney? A functioning brain? Now do some math…If a healthy heart costs $80,000 then as the owner of a full-functioning body with all of its parts you are a multi-millionaire…TRULY! And that doesn’t even take into consideration the additional priceless additions in our lives: A husband! Children! Food to eat! Clean water to drink! etc. etc. etc.

And despite this overwhelming abundance, we still insist on making ourselves so miserable over that one thing, that one lost watch, which we are inevitably lacking…Because when we choose to focus on what we lack, there is ALWAYS something lacking.

But there is another way to live…

This week I heard a story about a 92-year-old woman who had to move into a nursing home after her husband passed away. As the community’s social worker led her to her new room for the first time, the woman had a bright smile on her face, and she insisted, “I love this room! It’s beautiful! I couldn’t wish for anything more!” The social worker was confused…”But Mrs. Cohen, we haven’t reached your room yet…How do you know that you will love it so much?”

“I know,” Mrs. Cohen explained with a suddenly serious look, “because happiness is always a choice, no matter what circumstances life sends my way. So I have already chosen that I will love my new home.”

Choosing to focus on what we have rather than what we lack. I know, I know, it’s SO tough to live this way. But I’m working hard on it, and maybe you’ll join me?

This funny video about a 100-year-old comedian reminded me of Mrs. Cohen and the decision to choose happiness, come what may:


  1. “Our love.”
    I’m speechless.

  2. My Rav, the Mohorosh may he have a Refuah Shelema, constantly encourages women to see the glass half full. He says he knows that we have hard days and our children drive us crazy but we have the choice to see the cup half full or half empty. That is in our control. He also reminds us that the Roshei Teivot Ashir – someone who is rich is someone who has his Eyes, Teeth, Hands, and Feet. (Eynaim, Yadaim,Shinayim, and Raglaim).

  3. Wow, I hope we are all able to say that after 72 years of marriage we were able to look at the glass half full. As always Chana Jenny, thanks for brightening up my day! 🙂

  4. now ladies, take it one step further and try to see the glass as ALWAYS full —- of blessings…

    • sheva lazaros

      tamar is so perceeptive. i agree. never mind half full and half empty. we see only the fullness.
      ahavya. thank you for the definition of ashir. i want to always remember those roshei teivot.
      if i can add one thought. we have two eyes and can choose to look with a bad eye (chas veshalom) or to look with our good eye.
      thanks for posting, chana jenny. this story is inspiring.

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